Strictly Come Dancing is set to return to the BBC for its 2018 series in September, and the show's bosses have made another announcement regarding the next set of hopefuls. After calls by many - including former contestant Robert Rinder - for the show to break traditional format and feature same-sex couples, Strictly representatives have finally confirmed they will in fact stick to usual practice. "Strictly has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples," a spokesperson told The Telegraph.
Rob Rinder has called for same-sex Strictly couples in the past
Earlier this month, Robert Rinder (known as Judge Rinder to many of his fans) told the publication that "it would be great if it happens," regarding the idea of same-sex couples competing on the show - adding that "visibility really does matter." But 2017 contestant Reverend Richard Coles has spoken on the matter, too. "I used to think the BBC should include same sex couples on Strictly but now I’ve done it I can see why it might choose not to. There’s a complementarity when men and women dance together which is different when the couples are same sex," he said.
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He added: "I should add that I have not for a moment felt the slightest twinge of homophobia from a programme which is as LGBT+ friendly as the Sydney Mardi Gras in ruby slippers and on its fourth mojito."
The Reverend Richard Coles with fellow 2017 contestant Charlotte Hawkins
One of the show's judges, Craig Revel Horwood, has also spoken out on the subject in the past, telling This Morning earlier this year: "I would love to champion that. Other territories do it, so there is no reason why we can't, but that's obviously not my decision. But I would love to see it."
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It was recently revealed that the Strictly red carpet event (during which this year's celebrities are revealed) will take place on 27 August, followed by the launch show on 31 August – since the ticket ballot has opened for fans to apply to watch the show live. The show is known to be pre-recorded, so it's thought that the first show will air on Saturday 1 September.