Strictly Come Dancing eyeing up Mark Feehily for show’s first same-sex couple which only took 16 years

Mark Feehily of Westlife. (Christie Goodwin/Getty Images)

It only took the ballroom contest 16 years and around 240 mixed-sex couples, but Strictly Come Dancing is foxtrotting its way out of the dark ages and featuring a same-sex dancing couple.

And Westlife star Mark Feehily is top of the bookie’s lists of celebrity men tipped to become half of the historic dancing duo.

The gay singer, 40, will be paired with 33-year-old dance professional Johannes Radebe for the show’s upcoming 18th season, already historic for it being the first season in the programme’s history to, well, be shot and aired during a global health pandemic.

What a time.

Westlife star Mark Feehily tipped to become Strictly Come Dancing‘s landmark first same-sex couple

Sources told The Sun that Strictly leaders approached Feehily to be featured in the BBC One show last year, but Westlife tour plans forced him to turn it down.

Now with the coronavirus cratering the music industry, Strictly bosses are hoping to pair Feehily with Radebe – long rumoured by a roster of other sources and insiders to be the pro dancer pinned for the pairing.

“Mark is a massive fan of Strictly, and the boys actually performed on the show last year,” a source said.

“When he was first asked, he reluctantly had to decline because of the tour, but now that that’s off, he’s free to compete

“Nearly all the celebs are now signed up, but the Beeb are really keen to make this work and get him on board last minute.”

Rumours have swirled around how bosses will handle the show’s first same-sex pairing, with some insiders suggesting that two same-sex couples – two men, two women – will be blessing television screens.

Among female stars mooted include Gillian Anderson, Jessie J and Sandi Toksvig as the programmer considers high-profile queer women to make the show’s first all-female pairing.

It all comes after ITV’s Dancing on Ice stormed ahead with Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Matt Evers’ incredible same-sex skating duo. Strictly, however, continued to drag its feet, with Waktins reportedly being told: “The BBC doesn’t do that, it’s not us.”

Although, the contest saw professional dancers Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prime deliver a stunning routine last year. As much as their performance drew around 300 complaints from stunned homophobes, the BBC said it will not uphold any of them.