Former 'Strictly Come Dancing' judge Arlene Phillips thinks the show should include same-sex couples.

Arlene Phillips

Arlene Phillips

The 76-year-old choreographer sat on the panel of the BBC ballroom show from 2004 until 2008 and she thinks that 11 years on it's time the programme caught up with the times we live in and have same-sex dance partners as they frequently feature in competitions all across the UK.

Speaking to, Arlene said: "It's happening in the dance world. There are many same sex couples in dance competitions, it just isn't on television. It's common, it's not even thought about. It's part of dance, and it's part of storytelling."

There have been growing calls for 'Strictly' to include same-sex couples and show bosses are said to be "completely open" to the idea, whilst current judges Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse are in support of it.

International versions of the show have seen same-sex participants, with drag queen Courtney Act reaching the final of the Australian version, while Germany's 'Let's Dance' saw two women, singer Regina Luca and professional Kerstin Ott, hit the dancefloor together.

The issue has proved divisive, though, with former head judge Len Goodman saying he's more of a "traditionalist" when it comes to ballroom and Latin dancing and thinks the BBC should trial it with a spin-off show first.

Len, 75, said: "The poor old BBC, whatever they do is wrong. If they do it there will be an outcry from lots of people and if they don't do it there will be another swathe of people. It's awkward.

"Maybe ('Strictly') should try it as an off shoot. A mini-series with same sex couples and see how it goes down. If it seems to work and everyone is happy then bring it into the show."

However, Arlene disagreed with her former colleague, insisting that 'Strictly' should "make a statement" and same-sex couples on the main Saturday night show rather than produce a spin-off.

She said: "With spin-offs, if you start thinking about same-sex couples spin-off, you then think about a kids spin-off, non-celebrity spin-off - you can be spinning off for days.

"I don't think people would think about (same-sex couples). I think it will be something that is just accepted, and the public will accept it."