Strictly Come Dancing suits have confirmed that TV Chef and winner of the third series of Bake Off, John Whaite, will be matched with a male professional dancer for Strictly Come Dancing 2021.

The chef, who has published five cookery books and who has a regular slot on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, is the second celebrity to be partnered with a same-sex professional following boxer Nicola Adams’ pairing with pro dancer Katya Jones in 2020. Despite some decent routines and a lot of public support, Nicola and Katya’s stint on the Saturday night staple was cut short by Covid. 

Speaking to Matt Lucas on Zoë Ball’s BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show, John said, “I am so excited! I’m very, very nervous. I’m actually shaking inside. I was born to be on that dancefloor. I’m going to have to be taken off kicking and screaming every week.”

When asked about making Strictly history, he continued, “It’s an honour. When they asked me if I’d be interested, I bit their hand off. I thought to represent the LGBTQ+ community is one thing. But to see two men dancing together, it’s not necessarily about sexuality. It’s just about intimacy and respect, and I think that’s going to be a great thing in our culture where men are conditioned not to open up and not to be emotional. I think it might help to combat that. I’m excited on so many levels.”

John is the fourth contestant to be confirmed for this year’s contest joining McFly’s Tom Fletcher, actor and comedian Robert Webb and TV presenter AJ Odudu. Other celebs rumoured to be in the mix include Selling Sunset’s Christine Quinn, ex-professional footballer Peter Crouch and Corrie hunk Ryan Thomas.

ITV’s rival to Strictly, Dancing on Ice, featured a two-man couple in 2019, when Ian ‘H’ Watkins from Steps was partnered with pro skater Matt Evers. Read Steven Smith’s interview with Matt Evers here.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One later this year.  Check out the BBC Strictly blog here.

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