Great Britain

Strictly Come Dancing to feature all-female couple for the first time — with Gillian Anderson and Jessie J in the frame

STRICTLY Come Dancing will feature an all-female couple for the first time this year, the Sun on Sunday can reveal.

The BBC1 series plans to secure a high-profile lesbian or bisexual female celeb to make up one half of the show’s inaugural same-sex pairing.

Previous reports suggested Strictly’s gay professional Johannes Radebe would be teamed up with a male star.

But bosses are said to have decided that would be too “predictable”.

It comes after ITV’s skating show Dancing On Ice paired singer Ian “H” Watkins with pro Matt Evers earlier this year.

Tonight, a Strictly production source said: “Obviously ‘diversity’ is the key word in television today and, of course, Strictly wants to be progressive.

“The plan is to have a same-sex couple, and two women. Dancing On Ice featured two men, so it would be good to offer something different and keep pushing boundaries.

“While Johannes would love to dance with a guy, that would almost be too predictable.

“But all of the pros, male and female, have said they would be delighted to be partnered with someone of their own gender.”

Bisexual X-Files actress Gillian Anderson is regarded by Strictly bosses as a “dream” booking.

Other celebs in the frame include pop star Jessie J, TV presenter Steph McGovern, singer Chelcee Grimes and former Great British Bake Off host Sandi Toksvig.

Last year, Strictly did pair a same-sex couple in the group routine — and received 189 complaints.

Johannes and fellow pro Graziano di Prima dancing together during a performance by singer Emeli Sandé was deemed “offensive” by some.

The BBC said it was “an inclusive show” and proud of the dance.

In 2017, gay Scottish comedienne Susan Calman requested to be partnered with a man — and faced criticism from the LGBT community.

TV executives are currently exploring contingency options for the next series of Strictly amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Celebs are set to be announced at the end of July. It is likely they will initially rehearse with pros on Zoom, unless lockdown rules are eased.

Ian H Watkins takes parting shot at Strictly as he's eliminated from Dancing on Ice

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