ITV and “Dancing on Ice” likely made a daring choice, welcoming its first same-sex couple for its upcoming series. The show, which just recently unveiled the next series’ line up, will see professional skater Matt Evers work with Steps singer Ian Watkins.

Watkins, also known as H, is said to be the one who proposed the idea to the “Dancing on Ice” production team. While there were discussions about it, the production crew embraced the proposal.

A spokesperson for ITV neither confirmed nor denied the speculation. According to the network, the official pairings for the new series will be verified a few weeks before the first episode airs.

It can be recalled that then-“Dancing on Ice” judge Jason Gardiner made headlines last year when he publicly declared his support for a same-sex pairing in the rink. With his support, however, came a warning that there may be logistical challenges for same-sex pairings because of similarities in body type of same-sex skaters.

Referring to the fact that it is very difficult to lift someone near your own height and weight over your head.

H, for his part, remained tight-lipped about the rumors. The openly-gay star did, however, post a selfie with judges Christopher Dean and Jayne Torvill. H then wrote the caption “Happiness,” which has been interpreted by many as a reference to the news.

'Strictly Come Dancing' next?

The “Dancing on Ice” decision foiled the BBC’s plan for “Strictly Come Dancing” to be the first dance reality program to feature a same-sex pair.

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Just a few weeks before, calls for “Strictly” to open up to same-sex pairs reached a feverish pitch.

Judges Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood have already publicly backed plans to include a same-sex pair in the line up of the show. Original judge Arlene Phillips also agreed with the plan, citing the mainstreaming of same-sex dance couples in dance competitions all throughout the world.

The BBC also expressed openness at the idea of having same-sex pairing.

It cites the dance reality series’ track record of inclusivity. The statement also said that the network is proud to feature many LGBT creators and dancers in the show.

The statement is actually a huge change for the network. The BBC released a statement back in 2017 saying that it wanted to stick with the “traditional format of mixed-sex couples” in the show.

While there has not been same-sex pair in the competition, “Strictly Come Dancing” did feature a same-sex performance in a result show last year. That time, Gorka Marquez and AJ Pritchard danced together during the number.

LGBT contestants in other British reality shows

It is hardly the first time that a British reality show had LGBT contestants onscreen. Australian drag queen and media personality Courtney Act famously won “Celebrity Big Brother” last year. Rav Bansal of “The Great British Bake Off” also got praised for publicly coming out, increasing visibility for Sikh members of the LGBT community. Even Nathan Henry confirmed he is gay during his time on the reality series “Geordie Shore.”

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