Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton du Beke has said he would be “very happy” to be paired with a male dance partner.
The BBC is reportedly considering introducing same-sex couples next year, while rival show Dancing On Ice will make the move in its forthcoming series.
Asked if he would be happy to be paired with a man, du Beke told the Mirror: “It’s just dancing, isn’t it? Fred Astaire danced with Gene Kelly. I’d have been very happy to dance with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire, I don’t mind.”
The 53-year-old recalled dancing with his fellow professional Vincent Simone, who left Strictly in 2012, adding: “This isn’t going to be new for me – I’ve already done it.”
du Beke, who has been on Strictly since the show began in 2004, spoke after the BBC received 189 complaints following a dance routine involving Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe on the November 3 show.
“Strictly is a bit of a mirror on society, actually. And it should be,” du Beke, who is paired with EastEnders star Emma Barton, said.
“Stuff like Johannes dancing with Graziano – it’s not such a big deal. As a dancer it isn’t even a thing. It’s quite normal because it’s dance and that’s what dance is. It’s creative.”
Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli labelled the complaints about Strictly’s first same-sex dance routine “very sad”.
He tweeted: “It’s hard to believe after such progress in society and many other topics going on that (around) 200 people felt so upset they complained when two men danced with each other.”