‘Strictly Come Dancing’ history was made on Sunday night, when pairs of same-sex dancers performed together for the first time.
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Robin Windsor, who had been forced to bow out of this year’s series after sustaining an injury, made a brief ‘Strictly’ comeback for a ‘Cops and Robbers’-style routine, where he was paired up with Aljaž Skorjanec, while the female dancers were also paired together.
Although their dance lasted only a matter of seconds, it did mark the first time that men and women had danced with each other on the show.
When the same-sex partnership plans were announced last week, they were met with a mixed reception, including from HuffPost UK readers, the majority of whom were in favour of the dance, although some felt it was a step too far.
One reader commented: “I like to see the elegance and graceful moves of the beautiful lady dancers and the strong lead of the male dancers. Is this change for the sake of it, again?”, while another reiterated: “I watch ‘Strictly’, but if it goes further than this, I will switch to another channel.”
However, a lot of ‘Strictly’ fans were pleased to see the show take a step in the direction of progress, with one comment stating: “For goodness sake, this is ‘SCD’ we’re talking about, not a porn show. The BBC are hardly going to show anything distasteful going on. I thought in this day and age, the general public were supposed to be more tolerant and accepting.”
Earlier this year, ‘Strictly’ pro Robin admitted that he wasn’t sure whether the BBC would be comfortable showing same-sex dancers on the show, telling the Daily Star: “I’m not sure if the British public are ready for it on the main show. But I think it would be a good idea to do it on a Children In Need special or the Christmas show.
“It would be a good way to test the waters. Then, if the public love it, why not go all out and do it for a full series? I’m up for anything.”
James Jordan, on the other hand, has been less supportive of allowing same-sex couples to compete in ballroom dancing, having previously moaned: “I do not agree with men dancing with men. Why would a man want to dance with a man?”
Sunday night’s show also featured a performance of Barry Manilow, and the departure of TV naturalist Steve Backshall and his partner, Ola Jordan, leaving just seven couples in the competition.