BBC defends Nicola Adams' same-sex pairing on Strictly

‘Strictly is an inclusive show’: BBC defends Nicola Adams’ same-sex pairing… after more than 100 people complained ahead of the show starting

The BBC has defended having a same-sex pairing on this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing after more than 100 people complained.

In a statement the corporation said the competition is an ‘inclusive show’ and they are ‘proud’ to have had same-sex numbers in previous series.

Former boxer Nicola Adams, 37, is set to become the first celebrity contestant in Strictly’s history to be paired with a woman when the show returns in five weeks.  

Defending: The BBC has stood by its decision to have a same-sex pairing on this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing after more than 100 people complained (contestant Nicola Adams is pictured)

The BBC said: ‘Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.

‘We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise.

‘Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate. The show is first and foremost about dance, the sex of each partner within a coupling should have no bearing on their routine.’

Last year male professional dancers Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima performed a same sex routine during the show’s seventeenth series. 

‘Strictly is an inclusive show’: The corporation added that they were ‘happy to facilitate’ Nicola’s request to have an all-female pairing on this year’s season of Strictly

While the dance – conducted during a performance by pop star Emeli Sande – was met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response on social media, it prompted 200 complaints with TV regulator Ofcom. 

On Wednesday it was revealed that the BBC has already received complaints from some viewers about Nicola’s upcoming same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing. 

The competition isn’t due to start for five more weeks, but more than 100 people have already complained after a statement was posted online by the broadcaster. 

MailOnline contacted Strictly and Nicola’s representative for a comment at the time. 

Setting the tone: Nicola enters the competition after male professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima performed a same sex routine during the show’s seventeenth series in 2019

Nicola recently spoke about her upcoming appearance on the show, saying she is ready to ‘break boundaries’ as part of first same-sex couple in show’s history

She told the Guardian: ‘I guess it’s just breaking those boundaries and showing people that it’s OK.

‘It’s not such an uncommon thing: professional dancers dance with people of the same sex all the time; you dance in a nightclub with your friends. 

‘I just wanted to break down the thing of it being a big deal when it’s not really a big deal.’ 

With her dance partner yet to be confirmed, Nicola believes she will be given the male role when the show gets underway because of her aversion to traditionally feminine clothes, adding:  ‘Dresses aren’t my thing.’  

For Nicola, her same-sex routines will be another opportunity to redefine the woman’s role after being subjected to criticism as an ambitious teenager keen to make her mark in a largely male dominated sport.  

Complaints: Ahead of Strictly returning to TV in five weeks time, the BBC has already received complaints from people about Nicola’s pairing (pictured during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games)

Recalling some of the comments directed at her by coaches, she said: ‘Like: “Why don’t you play tennis?” or: “Women should be in the kitchen cooking.” You’d hear comments like that all the time.’   

The former boxer is also aware of her position as an openly gay woman in the public eye, and with it her place as an LGBTQ+ role model to the younger generation.   

She added: ‘I know there will be kids who are struggling. And I’d just like them to know that it doesn’t matter about your sexuality or what colour you are, you really can achieve anything you want to if you work hard.’

Filming for the new series is reportedly scheduled to begin in September, with the professional dancers’ group routines to be pre-recorded after they completed two weeks in isolation. 

The show is set to begin on October 24 with a one-off launch show on 12. 

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