Dancing on Ice ‘open’ to same-sex couples, says Jason Gardiner

Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner

Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner has said the show is open to same-sex pairings.

The out choreographer, who has been a judge on the ITV reality ice skating series since its launch in 2006, told Digital Spy he would “embrace” a change to the show’s format.

Dancing on Ice contestants are traditionally paired with a professional dancer of the opposite sex, as also happens on BBC dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly bosses have rebuffed suggestions that same-sex pairings should also be permitted, but Gardiner hinted that there was less resistance on the ITV show.

Dancing on Ice could feature same-sex dance couples

He said: “If people were open to it, and I don’t see why we wouldn’t be, I’m sure ITV would have no problem with embracing that.

“I think it would be great if we had a same-sex couple.”

However, Gardiner added that same-sex couples could present a new technical challenge for the dancers themselves.

The 2018 cast of Dancing on Ice

The 2018 cast of Dancing on Ice

He said: “Where it gets difficult is in terms of content, because what works with the male female ratio is, generally speaking, the male is taller than the female.

“So therefore a female, slighter, would be able to be lifted. When you’ve got two men, generally about the same build or shape, height, that’s where it starts getting a bit difficult…”

“We would then find it would be a new way of having to look at how we present that. And that’s a challenge.

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“That would be a challenge for the show to overcome. But I would welcome it, absolutely I would.”

The show is set to launch its eleventh series on January 6, though all contestants have been paired with opposite-sex dancers for the upcoming run.

Strictly Come Dancing sticks to ‘traditional’ opposite-sex format

The BBC reality dance show has come under repeated fire over its reluctance to allow same-sex pairings in the contest, although they are more common in the professional dance world.

Ahead of Strictly Come Dancing 2018, a spokesperson said: “Strictly has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples.”

Strictly has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples.”

— BBC spokesperson

The confirmation comes despite vocal support from several of the show’s judges.

Head judge Shirley Ballas said earlier this year: “They’re just about to have the final of the Italian version of Strictly, and I was just informed that a same-sex couple, two men, made the final, so I will be following that.

“I think things are changing, and I couldn’t think of anything more exciting. I’m for it!”

Judge Craig Revel Horwood has long been a supporter of permitting same-sex dance couples on the show.

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