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25/08/2021 16:48 BST

Former Strictly Come Dancing Professional Kevin Clifton Calls Out Double Standard Affecting Female Celebs

"When Maisie Smith was on the show, people were having a go. But people loved, say, Danny Mac."

Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Kevin Clifton has claimed there’s a double standard when it comes to the show’s celebrity contestants.

Kevin – who left Strictly in 2020 to prioritise his career in musical theatre – said on the latest instalment of his podcast that he feels it’s a lot easier for male contestants to sweep their past dance experience under the rug than their female competitors.

I feel like the general audience of Strictly Come Dancing don’t mind it so much if a male celebrity has a bit of training,” he said during an interview with his sister Joanne Clifton

“[But] they don’t like it when a female celebrity has training. That’s my experience of it.”

Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Kevin Clifton at the Strictly red carpet launch in 2018

Specifically referencing last year’s finalist Maisie Smith, Kevin continued: “We talked about this a lot last year, when Maisie was on the show and people were having a go. But people loved, say, Danny Mac, who had training... and rightly so, he was amazing.”

He added: “I love Danny Mac, I think he’s mad talented and he’s a nice guy and I thought he was brilliant on Strictly.

“But like, see how the reaction is different when a guy has training to when a girl has training. Whether he’s trained or not, I don’t think it’ll make too much difference for him.”

Dave J Hogan via Getty Images
Kevin says Maisie Smith was unfairly maligned because of her dance background

Strictly will return to our screens for a full series in the autumn, after last year’s run had to be abridged due to the pandemic.

That’s not to say there won’t be a few changes, though.

As well as welcoming four brand new professional dancers into the fold, Anton Du Beke and Janette Manrara will not be competing in 2021.

Anton has been given a promotion to the judging panel in Bruno Tonioli’s absence, while Janette is making the move to spin-off show It Takes Two, where she’ll be taking over the reins from Zoe Ball.

Listen to Kevin Clifton’s podcast here.