Strictly Come Dancing star Richie Anderson explains why he chose to dance with a male partner

Richie Anderson

Radio personality Richie Anderson has revealed he was given a choice over whether to compete in a same-sex or opposite-sex pairing ahead of this year’s season of Strictly Come Dancing.

But he says he was encouraged to dance with a man by his partner.

Speaking to the Metro, he explained: “They actually gave me the option over it.

“They said they want me to be on Strictly this year and they were like, ‘Do you want to be with a female or male partner?'”

Richie said it was his long-term boyfriend, Dean Eagles, who encouraged him to enter the competition as part of an all-male duo.

“When I spoke to my other half Dean, it was our 10-year anniversary, and he was like, ‘You have to,’ and it’s the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK.”
Richie Anderson said it is a “massive honour” to join Strictly Come Dancing as part of only the third-ever same-sex pairing. He follows in the footsteps of Nicola Adams and Katya Jones (2020), and John Whaite and Johannes Radebe (2021). Whaite and Radebe finished as runners-up in their series.

Johannes Radebe and John Whaite

Johannes Radebe and John Whaite made Strictly history. (BBC)

Anderson is an ex-Sunday league footballer who went viral in 2018 when he came out as gay to his teammates during a documentary exploring homophobia in sport.

He now presents travel reports on BBC Radio 2 and occasionally appears on The One Show.

After the initial casting was announcement, Anderson tweeted to say joining Strictly was a “dream come true”.

In the new interview, Anderson also spoke about queer inclusion on the BBC dance show meaning so much more to him than just visibility.

“Queer-inclusion isn’t a box-ticking exercise for one series, it’s a fundamental shift in the narrative for life,” he said.

Addressing what representation on the show means to him, Richie added “I was so inspired by watching John and Johannes last year, and Nicola and Katya the year before, I wish as a teenage gay guy, I would have seen that representation on television when I was growing up.”