Dancing On Ice is to beat Strictly Come Dancing to having UK TV’s first same-sex dancing couple.
Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins will be teamed up with professional skater Matt Evers in the next series of the ITV show early next year.
Watkins is believed to have asked about being paired with a man, and the ITV producers were “fully supportive”.
It comes after speculation that Strictly will allow same-sex couples next year.
In August, the BBC said it was “completely open” to having them, “should the opportunity arise”.
Speaking about same-sex couples earlier this year, former Strictly judge Len Goodman told The Sun: “If they do it, there’ll be people saying, ‘I’m not going to watch it any more, [and] if they don’t do it, there’ll be people saying, ‘Well, you’re homophobic.’ They can’t win.”
Goodman added that he was an “old traditionalist” but added that “if it’s done in a tasteful way, I think it would be OK”.
Welsh star Watkins, 43, will be joined on Dancing On Ice by celebrities including model Caprice Bourret, Love Island’s Maura Higgins and TV presenters Trisha Goddard and Michael Barrymore.
They will all be judged on their moves by a panel including Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and new judge John Barrowman.
By Ben Hunte, LGBT correspondent
While some may see this as a gimmick, many LGBT people will see this as a necessary step to have their lives reflected on prime-time TV.
For a long time, heterosexual couples have been shown to be the norm. In adverts, films and television dancing competitions, straight pairings were all people saw. However, times really have changed.
For a prime-time family show to take this step is big, and it means that families up and down the country will be seeing and discussing same-sex pairings.
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