Former Steps member Ian ‘H’ Watkins will have a same-sex dance partner on Dancing on Ice, it has been revealed, beating rival show Strictly Come Dancing.
Watkins, who is openly gay, reportedly pitched the idea himself after he was cast in the 2020 series and he has now been paired with Dancing on Ice regular Matt Evers.
A source told Digital Spy: “After conversations with the Dancing on Ice production team, H enquired as to the possibility of being paired with a male professional skater.
“Dancing on Ice were fully supportive of a same-sex partnership and as such this year H will be paired with Matt Evers.”
The star of the 90s pop group remained in the closet until 2007, ten years after the band hit the music scene.
He previously told PinkNews: “I hadn’t told my family, and I was still kind of discovering who I was.
“But because I hadn’t told my family, who were very important, I chose to stay in the closet.
“I felt massive pressure to keep my sexuality a secret.”
BBC bosses said earlier this year that they were “completely open” to the idea of having same-sex couples compete on Strictly Come Dancing, however they are yet to announce a same-sex partnership for the show.
The idea received some backlash with former head judge Len Goodman saying that he does not support same-sex couples competing on the show because he’s an “old traditionalist”.
But original Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips said she supported the plan, and called for the show to allow same-sex partners to take part.
“It’s happening in the dance world. There are many same-sex couples in dance competitions, it just isn’t on television,” Phillips told RadioTimes.
“It’s common, it’s not even thought about. It’s part of dance, and it’s part of storytelling.”