Strictly’s Shirley Ballas backs Dr Ranj to have a male dance partner
STRICTLY judge Shirley Ballas has come out in favour of same-sex dance couples on Strictly, following reports that contestant Dr Ranj Singh would like a male dance partner.
Last week, the This Morning medic — who had a wife in his 20s but has since described his sexuality as not ‘black-and-white’ — said: ‘I would love to dance with a same-sex partner.
‘I would value a time when same-sex couples could dance on shows like Strictly. It is incredibly important. We are making progress but there is still time to go.’
And Ballas seems to agree, saying she ‘wouldn’t be opposed’ to same-sex couples.
On ITV’s Loose Women today, she said: ‘I think he’s happy with whatever choice he’s given. I think everything in its good time.
‘I wouldn’t be opposed to him dancing with another man.
‘We have same-sex competitions in my industry. It’s movement to music at the end of the day.
‘When I’m teaching a lecture, I have the little girls do the boys’ part, the little boys do the girls’ part so they understand about lead and follow and what to expect.
‘It’s two human beings that are moving to music at the end of the day. You’re judging the talent.’
Fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood has also backed the idea in the past.
‘I think a same-sex couples can exist — you only have to decide who’s going to go backwards!’ he said.
‘In the world of competitions, there are same-sex couples that do it as well so there is no reason that can’t happen. The Beeb just have to decide if it’s something they want to do.’
He also pointed out that the tango ‘was originally danced between two men’.
But speaking in the wake of Ranj’s comments, a spokesperson for the corporation didn’t sound like the Beeb was ready to budge.
‘Strictly has chosen the longstanding ballroom dancing format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples,’ he said.
‘We can’t wait to see Dr Singh and the rest of our celebrities on the dancefloor.’
Shirley also addressed criticism that this year’s line-up — which includes Blue singer Lee Ryan, Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts, Steps singer Faye Tozer, Red Dwarf actor Danny John-Jules and TV presenter Katie Piper — lacks star power.
‘It’s a diverse panel of beautiful people, all with a story,’ she said. ‘You’ve got an Olympic athlete in there, it’s just going to be fantastic and people need to give it a chance.
‘Everybody has their opinions, but they are just opinions at the end of the day.’
Many Strictly fans have complained that they’d never even heard of some of the less high-profile contestants, such as Capital DJ Vick Hope and YouTube star Joe Sugg.
Shirley added: ‘It has to be a mixture of people and, at the end of the day, people will watch it, they’ll judge for themselves.
‘Give these stars a chance and I know that, as with every year, with ratings, people love to tune in, and this is going to be a great panel of people.’
Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One in the autumn
Author: Anna Thomson