Strictly Come Dancing will reportedly feature same-sex professional pairings for the first time in its 14-year history.
Long-time Strictly participant Pasha Kovalev is said to be partnering with AJ Pritchard for some of this year’s routines with Karen Clifton expected to dance with a female partner for several dances throughout the forthcoming series.
Despite this, the BBC competition will be sticking with mixed pairings for the celebrities.
A source told The Sun: “Some of the dancers have been rehearsing some same-sex pairings with plans to introduce them to a few of the professional numbers. There have been a lot of calls for same-sex pro and celebrity pairings on the show so this is an ideal way to integrate into the format.”
The BBC has since responded to the reports, saying: “This is not unprecedented. Every week some of the world’s top choreographers create stunning routines that showcase the skills of our pro dancers. They can cast and direct the dances however they think best tells the story.”
Judges Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas have long supported the idea of same-sex couples. However, it was revealed last month that one of this year’s celebrity contestants – Dr Ranj Singh – was denied the opportunity to dance with a male professional after appealing the idea to producers.
Strictly Come Dancing 2018 is set to kick off on 8 September with a launch show featuring musical guests Nile Rodgers and Chic, Craig David and Stefflon Don.
This year’s contestants include cricketer Graeme Swann, Blue singer Lee Ryan, campaigner Katie Piper and comedian Seann Walsh.
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