07/09/2021 14:27 BST

Strictly's John Whaite Explains Why Being Part Of First Male Pairing Is Such A 'Massive Honour'

The former Great British Bake Off winner is poised to make history on the Strictly dance floor this year.

John Whaite has shared his excitement ahead of making his debut in the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom.

The former Great British Bake Off winner is set to make history as one half of the show’s first ever pairing made up of two men, following in the footsteps of Strictly’s first same-sex partnership last year, when Nicola Adams danced with Katya Jones.

Looking ahead, John has admitted he already has his eye on four of the show’s male dancers that he could potentially see himself performing alongside.

“There are four lads who I think are tall enough for me to dance with,” John told Steph’s Packed Lunch on Tuesday. “There’s Graziano [Di Prima], Kai [Widdrington], Johannes [Radebe] and Aljaž [Škorjanec].”

“They’re the four who I think are tall enough for me, but they might give me a shorter dancer and put him in heels,” he continued, noting he’s “really hoping I get to do a dance in heels”.

John added that it’s a “massive honour” for him to be dancing with a man on Strictly, telling Steph: “If I’d seen two lads or lasses dancing together on Saturday night TV and nobody made a fuss about it, I don’t think I’d have grown up with quite so much shame for being gay.

“I just hope there are kids out there watching who don’t even question it, who watch it and think, I am who I am and I’m comfortable with that, and I’m accepted and loved and can be loved for who I am. It’s a massive privilege.”

Channel 4
John Whaite speaking to Steph McGovern ahead of his Strictly debut

Nicola Adams and Katya Jones were the first same-sex pairing in Strictly history, but were forced to bow out of last year’s series early after the professional dancer contracted Covid-19.

Fortunately, they were allowed to return for one last routine in the final, which was hailed as their best by many Strictly fans.

The 15 celebrities competing in this year’s series of Strictly have now been confirmed, including Loose Women panellist Judi Love, McFly singer Tom Fletcher, BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker and former soap star Nina Wadia.

Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays at 12.30pm on Channel 4, with Strictly’s pre-recorded launch show being shown on Saturday 18 September on BBC One.