len goodman

Len Goodman questions decision to include same-sex couples on Strictly

The 75-year-old describes himself as an 'old traditionalist'

Gemma Strong

Len Goodman has said he is too much of an "old traditionalist" to totally get behind the idea of same-sex couples on Strictly Come Dancing. The 75-year-old was asked about reports the BBC will allow celebrities to choose a male or female partner in the 2020 series. Len, who left the dance show in 2016 after 12 years, told the Sun: "I've judged what they used to call pink competitions with ladies dancing together and a load of guys. They were of a very high standard, terrific dancing actually. Somehow whilst you were judging it, you didn't even notice."

len-goodman-strictly-judges

Len Goodman worked as a judge on Strictly for 12 years

He continued: "It wasn’t that one of the men was dressed in a frock or anything. It was done in a very tasteful way. So if it's done in that way I think it would be ok. But that doesn't change the fact I'm an old traditionalist."

MORE: Gorka Marquez and Karen Hauer surprise fans with big announcement

Len also warned that more traditional fans of the show could switch off if the change was made. "It's so difficult to please everyone," he explained. "What I'm used to is traditional ballroom and Latin dancing. When I was judging on Strictly, if somebody did some outlandish movement, I didn't like it. But everything moves on. If they do it, there'll be people saying, 'I'm not going to watch anymore.' And if they don't do it, there'll be people saying, 'Well, you're homophobic'. They can't win."

motsi-mabuse1

Motsi Mabuse has spoken out in support of same-sex partnerships on the show

Len's comments are at odds with those made by new judge Motsi Mabuse. In a recent interview in the Radio Times magazine, she referred to her time on Let's Dance, the German version of Strictly, saying: "In Germany, we've completely gone that way. We've had two ladies dance together [singer Lukas Rieger and pro dancer Katja Kalugina]. The ratings go to prove the point that sometimes, if you risk something, it pays off. It might go wrong – but at least you tried. The worst thing you can do is stay on the same spot. I respect traditions, but you need to keep developing."

MORE: Strictly's Motsi Mabuse insists she will judge sister Oti fairly

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.