Ian ‘H’ Watkins says complaints about same-sex Dancing on Ice routine were like ‘a dagger to the heart’

Steps singer Ian H Watkins same-sex Dancing on Ice routing with skater Matt Evers

Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins has said that anti-gay complaints about his same-sex Dancing on Ice routine with partner Matt Evers were like “a dagger to the heart”.

The pair became the first-ever same-sex couple to compete on Dancing on Ice on Sunday January 5, but last week broadcasting watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had received complaints in response.

Although out of millions of viewers, just 16 people took time out of their days to actually file complaints about a same-sex dance pairing, Watkins told HuffPost UK that he was still very hurt.

He said: “The reaction was incredible – a lot of the comments were overwhelmingly supportive, but when people call you hideous names and say things like ‘it’s not natural’ or ‘you’re a faggot’, all of those awful names, for me, they’re a dagger in my heart.”

Watkins, who has twin sons with his partner Craig Ryder, continued: “I think the world has progressed and changed so much, but those kinds of people still exist and will come into contact with my children.

“And those bigots will breed more bigots and we’re bigger and better than that now, as a society. It’s changed so much, but there’s still a small minority that breeds negativity and it’s hideous.”

His dance partner Evers responded positively to the complaints on Twitter: “16 out of 5.5 million… the odds are in our favor.”

But Watkins said: “It hurts, because 16 people were offended so much by two guys dancing on ice together – it’s not like we were ripping each other’s clothes off and snogging. It’s crazy! I thought what we did was very tasteful, it was strong, it was dynamic.”

He added that he was prepared for the “frenzy” that would surround the very first same-sex Dancing on Ice routine, but now that it’s been done he hopes that his skating can “do the talking”.

“I want to be treated the same as any other couple who’s on the show – and I think we will be by the judges,” he said.

Watkins said that going into the competition he had “three benchmarks” that he wanted to achieve: “The first one was to get the first skate out of the way and represent a whole different community.

“For the next one, I’d like to push the boundaries a little bit more and do a romantic song and portray it beautifully and delicately and just the same as a heterosexual couple – I want to tell a love story.

“My ultimate goal on the show, if I make it that far, I’d like to see two guys do the Bolero in the final.”