Nicola Adams and Katya Jones become first same-sex couple to dance on Strictly


This year’s season of Strictly Come Dancing features the series’ first same-sex couple, Olympic champion boxer Nicola Adams, and professional dancer Katya Jones. The show has received its best opening ratings for three years, garnering 9 million views, as opposed to 8.1 million in 2018 and 8.8 million in 2017, despite being slightly hampered due to the current coronavirus pandemic. The cast is smaller than most years, being 12 couples instead of 16, and all members will be tested twice-weekly for the virus. Despite these differences, the show is experiencing a surge in popularity after a period of stagnancy.

Although Adams and Jones are the first same-sex professional-celebrity couple, the first same-sex routine on Strictly happened when professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Prima danced together on a results show in November 2019. When the episode aired, Strictly Come Dancing recieved 189 complaints about the routine. This year, Adams requested an all-female dancing pair, and Strictly has defended its choice to accomodate her, saying it is an inclusive show.

There has been both criticism and praise for the move; when asked for comment, the member of Parliament Ann Widdecombe said “I don’t think it is what viewers of Strictly, especially families, are looking for”. The former judge Len Goodman has also said that he would rather keep the show “traditional”. Both have recieved backlash for these comments, with fans of the show saying on Twitter that “same-sex couples have families too”. It appears that the majority of viewers have positive opinions on the couple, and feel that it is beneficial to see same-sex representation on mainstream television. When appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Adams commented: “I think it’s really important. It’s definitely a time for change, it’s definitely a time to move on and be more diverse, and this is a brilliant step in the right direction.” She also said, “It’ll be nice for the LGBT community to be able to see same-sex couples on the show as well.”

We at the Messenger are looking forward to seeing the pairing progress through the show! Who knows, maybe they’ll take home the Glitterball Trophy…