Strictly Come Dancing has announced its first ever male same-sex couple

Great British Bake Off star John Waite is making history by participating in Strictly Come Dancing's first male same-sex couple.

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, Strictly Come Dancing presenters
Strictly Come Dancing: John Waite to dance in first male same-sex couple

Great British Bake Off star John Waite is making history by participating in Strictly Come Dancing's first male same-sex couple.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is almost upon us, which will be mildly alarming news for anyone wondering where on earth the first seven months of the year have gone. The popular BBC dancing show will return to our screens in the autumn, and with it will come a bunch of brand new celebrities lacing up their dancing shoes.

This year, the Strictly line up is breaking history once again, with the inclusion of the show's first ever male same-sex couple. Former Great British Bake Off star John Waite announced on Thursday (5 August) that he will be taking part in the series - and representing the LGBTQ+ community by partnering with a man. He joins McFly's Tom Fletcher, TV presenter AJ Odudu, and Peep Show creator Robert Webb in the line up so far.

John Waite, Strictly Come Dancing 2021 contestant

Sharing the news with Matt Lucas on BBC Radio 2, John Waite said that it's "an honour" to take part in the show. "When they asked me if I'd be interested, I just bit their hand off because I thought... to do that and represent the LGBTQ+ community is one thing – but also just to see two men or two women dancing together, it's not necessarily about sexuality, it's just about intimacy and respect," he told Lucas.

"I am so excited," the baker added. "I'm very, very nervous, I'm not gonna lie, I'm actually shaking inside. But I'm so excited, I can't wait to get going, I was born to be on that dance floor."

John Waite and his as-yet-unconfirmed dance partner won't be the first ever same sex couple to grace the Strictly dance floor, however. That iconic moment first came in 2019, when Johannes Radebe danced with fellow male professional Graziano di Prima on the Strictly Come Dancing results show. Shortly afterwards, Radebe powerfully tweeted, "Love knows no boundaries."

See more

The following year, in 2020, the BBC included a same-sex celebrity/professional pairing for the first time when Olympic boxer Nicola Adams was put in a dance partnership with professional Katya Jones. Following the initial announcement, Nicola issued a statement saying: "I wanted to thank the BBC for supporting me and making me the first ever all female-pairing; and it’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry."

Yes, yes, and YES. Love is love, dancing is dancing, and it's refreshing to see this inclusive reflection of our society showcased on primetime TV. We can't wait to watch John Waite dance in just a couple of months - the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 countdown is officially on.

Catriona Harvey-Jenner

Cat is a Senior Editor at Marie Claire, covering news and features across the brand's key purpose pillars, including women's issues, politics, career, mental health, female empowerment and equality, as well as books.