Bruno Tonioli has warned the BBC that they must “be very careful” if they want to include a same-sex competing couple in future series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The judge, 64, said in a new interview that he hoped BBC bosses would not copy Dancing On Ice‘s decision to include same-sex couples as simply a publicity stunt.
Speaking to The Sun he said: “We would have to be very careful because we wouldn’t want to do it just to get headlines.
“It has to be the right person and couple for it to work.
“The search needs to start and it’s something that is possible.”
Strictly’s ITV competitor, Dancing On Ice, made British television history by debuting their first ever same-sex couple this year.
Steps member Ian ‘H’ Watkins was teamed with ice skating pro Matt Evers and they proved to be a huge hit with the judges and audiences a like.
In a separate interview with The Sun Matt hinted that a romance with Ian could eventually be a possibility, as he is a “lovely man”.
He said: “I haven’t looked at him as a potential partner outside the rink but I’d never say never. He is a lovely man.”
Their participation on the hit ITV series sparked 16 complaints to Ofcom from viewers, who reportedly took offence to seeing a same-sex couple dancing on their screens.
An Ofcom representative told Metro: “The selection and pairing of contestants is an editorial matter for ITV.
“Our rules do not discriminate between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.”
Although Strictly – which first aired in 2004 – hasn’t had a same-sex couple compete, they had their first ever same-sex dance in the latest series.
Strictly professional dancers Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe danced together as Emeli Sandé performed her song.
Head Strictly judge Shirley Ballas said the performance was “the most magnificent thing I have witnessed”.
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@emelisande sang one of her new songs SHINE ✨ and @jasongilkison put us in formation 🙌🏾 @lubamushtuk @aljazskorjanec always on top form and my dear friend @grazianodiprima beaming with pride ❤️ This meant the world to so many people I know and love, @bbcstrictly thank you on behalf of us all…🌈 #beproud
It was rumoured that last year’s series would also include a same-sex competing couple, but this didn’t turn out to be the case.
The BBC responded to the rumours with the following statement: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and we are proud to have featured same sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.
“We are completely open to the prospect of including same sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers in the future, should the opportunity arise.”
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