ENTERTAINMENT

Judge Rinder Addresses 'Strictly Come Dancing' Same-Sex Couples Debate

It's been a year since he first took to the dance floor.

18/09/2017 15:21 BST

Judge Rinder has shared his thoughts, amid the ongoing debate about the absence of same-sex dancing partnerships on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

Last month, comedian and ‘Strictly’ 2017 contestant Susan Calman - who is married to a woman - was forced to speak out over her decision to dance with a male professional.

Defending her choice, she said: “I think what annoyed me slightly is that I seem to be getting it in the neck.

“Will Young didn’t get it, Judge Rinder didn’t get it, [fellow 2017 competitor] Richard Coles isn’t getting it. It seems to me as a woman, he’s not getting it the same way I am. And for me to be getting it is, I think, unfair.”

Mike Marsland via Getty Images
Susan Calman at this year's 'Strictly' red carpet launch

Judge Rinder was asked for his thoughts on the matter during an interview on Monday’s (18 September) ‘Lorraine’, a year on from his own ‘Strictly’ debut.

He said: “It’s a perfectly reasonable question and I completely understand why people are asking it.

“It was the first question I was asked by everybody and my immediate, serious and thoughtful reaction was... don’t be absurd.

“Nobody was asking me to get married to my partner or engage in any sort of geography with her – that’s probably the worst euphemism but you get the sense. They just wanted me to dance with her.”

PA Archive/PA Images
Judge Rinder

The daytime star went on to address the backlash against Susan Calman, claiming he doesn’t feel the absence of same-sex ‘Strictly’ partnerships is a matter that people should be taking so seriously.

He insisted: “The heavenly thing about ‘Strictly’ is it’s pure escapism. You know as well as I do that there are some things that just aren’t politics. ‘Strictly’ is absolutely one of them.

“I don’t think it will make any difference to the lifes of any young people, and there are are a lot of people. who find it very difficult to come out from the LGBTQI community, if she dances with an almost straight-woman.

“But there are amazing charities that do need our assistant, whether she dances with a man or not is going to make no difference to anybody.”

Steve Meddle/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock
Judge Rinder speaks to Lorraine

Referencing his work with Stand Up To Cancer, the TV judge continued: “It’s glitter, I don’t walk around the street in sequins and getting my top off everyday, it’s not real life.

“You know, people need to worry about more serious things, like how we can cure cancer, and how we can be a part of Stand Up To Cancer… that’s a real kind of problem, whether or not Susan Calman dances with a woman isn’t something we really need to worry about in a world of very serious things.”

Susan and her 14 fellow ‘Strictly’ competitors are currently gearing up for their live shows debut this weekend, with the songs and dances they’ll be performing to having now been revealed.

‘Lorraine’ airs every weekday from 8.30am on ITV.

12 Most Controversial 'Strictly Come Dancing' Moments