Original Dancing on Ice judge has concerns over same-sex pairing on the show

Dancing On Ice judge Jason Gardiner

Former Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner has said that he has concerns over whether same-sex pairings on the show will be “handled correctly and with dignity”.

It was revealed this month that former Steps member Ian ‘H’ Watkins will have a same-sex dance partner on Dancing on Ice, beating rival show Strictly Come Dancing.

Gardiner quit the show this year, after being a judge for 13 years, and will be replaced in the new season by John Barrowman.

He told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine Show that he didn’t want the introduction of same-sex partnerships on Dancing on Ice to enforce LGBT+ stereotypes.

He said: “All I hope is that it isn’t tokenism. That they don’t make it camp and flamboyant and it’s a proper partnership because it has to also have that romance.

“I hope it is handled correctly and with dignity. I hope it’s not made light of.

“Will it become stereotypical? On mainstream media we’re fine to do camp with gay men, but we don’t want gay men to be romantic.

“We don’t really want to see that. This is an opportunity for them to break the ice.”

Rumours have circulated on why exactly Gardiner quit the show, but he hit out at ITV in the interview when asked whether he feared it would be made light of.

He said: “Well, it is ITV. Sorry ITV, but you know, it’s true.”

Gardiner also said that he agreed Strictly Come Dancing had planned to introduce same-sex couples “a year too late.”

BBC bosses said earlier this year that they were “completely open” to the idea of having same-sex couples compete on Strictly Come Dancing, however they are yet to announce a same-sex partnership for the show.

Original Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips said she supported the plan, and called for the show to allow same-sex partners to take part.

“It’s happening in the dance world. There are many same-sex couples in dance competitions, it just isn’t on television,” Phillips told RadioTimes.

“It’s common, it’s not even thought about. It’s part of dance, and it’s part of storytelling.”