Richie Anderson has opened up about the importance of representation on shows like Strictly Come Dancing as he prepares to compete in the show’s second all-male partnership.
The BBC Radio 2 presenter, 34, admitted that John Whaite and Johannes Radebe’s partnership – the first all-male couple in Strictly’s history – gave him the confidence to also compete with a male professional dancer.
Thinking back on past moments which stood out for him from the show, Richie revealed: ‘Well, I have to mention my good friend Zoe Ball. Her Waltz in week one was so beautiful, elegant and floaty.
‘I also have to mention John and Johannes’ leaps. On a serious note, watching John and Johannes last year gave me the confidence to be in an all-male partnership this year.’
Richie addressed the importance of representation through Strictly and how much it would have meant for him when he was a child, adding: ‘I’m so glad I’m doing it.
‘I just felt so much inspiration. I wish I could have seen that on TV growing up, when I was growing up as a teenager and constantly trying to discover what I was and what I wasn’t.’
Richie previously revealed that the show’s producers gave him the option of a male or female professional partner.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other press, he explained: ‘They actually gave me the option over it.
‘They said they want me to be on Strictly this year and they were like “do you want to be with a female or male partner?”’
Richie also revealed that it was his long-term partner Dean Eagles who encouraged him to be in an all-male duo, adding: ‘When I spoke to my other half Dean, it was our 10-year anniversary, and he was like “you have to.”
‘And it’s the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK. It would be such a proud moment to be dancing with a male pro.’
Strictly Come Dancing launches on Friday at 7pm on BBC One.
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