A regular expert on the BBC quiz show ‘Eggheads’ has claimed that he was rejected from consideration for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ because he asked for a dance partner of the same sex.
CJ de Mooi, who is gay, says that he was overlooked in favour of BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine for inclusion on the 2015 edition of ‘Strictly’ because of his request. He has also slammed the corporation for the reason it gave for turning it down, which he says amounted to: “’Strictly’ is a family show and we have chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples.”
‘Strictly Come Dancing’, presented by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, returning to screens last night
He claims that his manager had approached the BBC on his behalf and that they were interested in signing him up until he asked to have a same-sex dancing partner. “I thought, as it’s now 2015, it’s time this format in Britain had a same-sex couple,” CJ told BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat on Saturday (September 5th), the day the dancing competition returned to BBC One for its thirteenth season.
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“I don’t want to say that ‘Strictly’ are conservative,” he continued. “But I think their announcement that they’re a ‘family show’ and have no plans for same-sex couples seems that they’re being a little bit narrow-minded and defining family in some very narrow terms.”
“I think it’s horrible to say ‘your family has to be one man, one woman and 2.4 children’ what a revolting thing to say in 2015. It’s hardly conducive to a spirit of inclusivity is it? I should think quite a few gay people watch ‘Strictly’ and work on ‘Strictly’.”
A spokesman for the BBC swiftly launched a denial of CJ’s claims. “To avoid any misinterpretation the reference to ‘family show’ – meaning all kinds of families – was only ever intended to describe the kind of show ‘Strictly’ is. It was not to explain casting decisions.”
The rep added: “’Strictly Come Dancing’ has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples. At the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition.”
More: ITV suggests that BBC deliberately schedules ‘Strictly’ to clash with ‘The X Factor’
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