John Whaite shares emotional message with fans after Strictly grand final

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe showdance to "You’ve Got The Love" on the grand final of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing

John Whaite has reflected on the lasting impact of Strictly Come Dancing’s “groundbreaking” grand final in an emotional post on social media.

Whaite and his professional dancing partner Johannes Radebe left their hearts on the dancefloor after a romantic rumba to “Shape of My Heart” by Sting, which scored 35 points. The pair also donned their best doublets and breeches for a new rendition of their Pirates of the Caribbean themed paso doble, which was just one point off a perfect score.

The amazing duo then finished up the grand final with a stellar showdance to “You’ve Got the Love”. The tear-jerking dance saw Whaite and Radebe showered in rainbow confetti and walk off arm-in-arm towards a giant LGBT+ themed, neon heart.

However, Whaite and Radebe narrowly missed out on taking home the glitterball trophy. The series’ first all-male pairing was defeated by EastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice. Ayling-Ellis is the first deaf winner of Strictly Come Dancing.

But Whaite did not let the loss dim the monumental impact that the series has had on him and the LGBT+ community at large. The Bake Off star took to Instagram to pen a heartfelt letter to his fans, who he hoped could “cherish something mighty special” from the series.

“When the glitter has faded and the spotlights have dimmed, I hope you all cherish something mighty special from this that will live on in your hearts,” John Whaite wrote.


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He continued: “I’m so proud to have been part of such a diverse, groundbreaking series of [Strictly].

“What started life as an entertainment show has this year provided solace for so many outcasts.

“Whoever you may be, I pray you always have the heart to be kind, to be understanding and to love. It really is as simple as that.”

Whaite finished the emotional post by thanking Radebe for “holding my hand and for sharing this little moment in our lives”.

Ahead of the grand final, Whaite opened up about the lasting impact of his appearance as part of Strictly’s first male same-sex pairing had on fans.

He told RadioTimes that he had received “really incredible” support from the public. Whaite described how several people had messaged him “saying things like their kids can grow up in a world where two men or two women can dance together is mega”.

“Older members of the LGBTQ+ community have been so grateful that they’ve paved the way for this to happen,” Whaite added. “Kids can now grow up without being ashamed.”

Johannes Radebe and John Whaite on Strictly Come Dancing

Johannes Radebe and John Whaite danced to Sting’s “Shape of my Heart”. (BBC)

Radebe also shared that his relationship with his mum had improved “because of this partnership”, which already felt like a win to the dancer.

He recalled how his mum was reluctant at first when he told her that he was dancing alongside a man on Strictly, but he said her attitude changed shortly after the same-sex duo appeared on the show.

“When I told her about the partnership, she said, ‘Oh, you’re dancing with a man?’ and I said, ‘Yes, mummy, I’m dancing with a man and his name is John’,” Radebe said.

He continued: “And there was an awkward silence, and I think like everybody else she also waited to see how it was going to play out because she’s such a traditionalist.

“And then I remember our first tango, she called me and she was like, ‘Oh that was good!’ So yeah, it’s been special!”