Saturday 24 March 2018

Scott Mills denies Strictly producers are homophobic after being paired with female dance partner

Radio 1 host Scott Mills will dance with Joanne Clifton in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing
Radio 1 host Scott Mills will dance with Joanne Clifton in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Jennifer Gibney attends the red carpet launch for Strictly Come Dancing 2014 at Elstree Studios on September 2, 2014 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman

Jess Denham

Gay Radio 1 host Scott Mills has denied that Strictly Come Dancing producers are homophobic for not pairing him with a male professional dancer.

Joanne Clifton will tutor the 40-year-old, who has described the hit celebrity ballroom contest as “the campest, glitziest show on television”.

“If there is homophobia over Strictly Come Dancing then the show wouldn’t exist,” Mills told Metro.

There have been campaigns for same-sex couples to take to the floor before, but Mills insists the decision is not his to make.

“It’s all in the hands of the producers, although apparently it doesn’t work as well in things like ballroom,” he said, adding that professional dancer Anton du Beke had been “teasing” him over rumours that he might be his surprise partner.

Instead, du Beke will dance with tennis coach and Andy Murray's mum, Judy Murray.

Robin Windsor, another professional dancer on the series forced to pull out of the new run due to back problems, made a push in June for same-sex pairings.

He was supported by his boyfriend, former X Factor contestant Marcus Collins, as well as judge Craig Revel Horwood.

“We wouldn’t rule out having a same sex couple on Strictly, but there are currently no plans for it in the immediate future,” a BBC spokesperson said.

Last night’s launch saw long-time Strictly presenter Sir Bruce Forsyth hand over the hosting baton to Claudia Winkleman after a flashmob tap dance.

The 15 new celebrities were introduced to their mentors for the series, while Smokey Robinson, Imelda May and 5 Seconds of Summer performed.

The show next hits TV screens in three weeks’ time for the first of the live dances on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 September.

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