Natalie Lowe has praised BBC bosses for having the first same-sex pairing on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing with former boxer Nicola Adams.
The Australian beauty, 40, who was a professional dancer on the show for seven series, said many international versions of Strictly have had same-sex pairings so it’s about time the UK followed suit.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: ‘I’m really excited about the same-sex pairing. Everywhere else is doing it around the world and there’s no time like the present. We’re broadening our horizons.’
Thrilled: Natalie Lowe, 40, has praised BBC bosses for having the first same-sex pairing on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing with former boxer Nicola Adams
Natalie, who was also a professional on Australia’s Dancing With The Stars, explained that two women dancing together in the ballroom world is not out of the ordinary.
She said: ‘I am just really excited and I’m intrigued. Back in the competitive world, we used to see girls dancing with girls all the time because there were never enough men competitively.
‘It’s a really common thing for this to be seen in the competitive world. You can get some amazing partnerships.’
The Australian and Danish versions of the show have both had same-sex pairings in recent years while the Irish version had a male pairing during switch-up week in 2019.
History: Former professional boxer Nicola, 37, will be a part of the show’s first same-sex pairing on this year’s series
Natalie reckons Janette Manrara or Karen Hauer could make for a good partner for Nicola when the show gets going.
She said: ‘Janette or Karen, they are quite strong, powerful dancers. I think if they get someone partnered with Nicola who is of a similar height and style and body image, it will look so powerful.
‘Side by side, you can get really creative and artistic. Strictly is all about the creativity, the imagination and the joy and the entertainment value.’
On last year’s Strictly, pro dancer Johannes Radebe danced with Graziano Di Prima, with 189 viewers complaining to the BBC.
Natalie told how she hopes the same does not happen to Nicola, adding that competing on the show is often an unforgettable experience for the celebrities.
Natalie said: ‘Everywhere else is doing it around the world and there’s no time like the present. We’re broadening our horizons’ (pictured in 2016)
She said: ‘I hope that’s not going to be the case because it shouldn’t be. Strictly is one of the best experiences anyone will ever have.
‘I’ve spoken to a lot of sports people who said it was one of the best things that they have ever done. Just embrace the process and embrace the learning. Knock them dead.’
Former Strictly professional dancer James Jordan, 42, appeared to take a different view as he took to Twitter and said Britain ‘panders to political correctness’ after the news of the same-sex pairing.
He wrote: ‘Random Rant. We have become a scared little embarrassing country that panders to political correctness. #F**koffPCBrigade’.
While James’ tweet did not reference Nicola or Strictly, many speculated that was what he was referring to.
Natalie added: ‘It’s a really common thing for this to be seen in the competitive world. You can get some amazing partnerships’ (pictured in 2016 with Greg Rutherford)]
James and his wife Ola, 37, who were both dancers on the show, previously slammed the idea of introducing same-sex pairings to the series.
The outspoken couple claimed the move – proposed by judge Craig Revel-Horwood, would take away from the ‘masculine and feminine’ aspect of dancing, branding it an ‘insult to our profession’.
When asked what she thought of James’ comments, Natalie said: ‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that’s all I have to say about that.’
Natalie said she is looking forward to seeing what this year’s Strictly will be like following the Covid-19 lockdown.
Opinion: James Jordan, 42, appeared to take a different view as he took to Twitter and said Britain ‘panders to political correctness’ after the news of the same-sex pairing
The intimate nature of the series means social distancing is impossible – but the pros have started rehearsals, with their celebrity counterparts slowly being unveiled over the coming days.
She said: ‘If anything, I think the competition might be even stronger. The only thing that could stop people from really going for the highest marks is if they let nerves get in the way. I think this could be a really competitive powerful, high end quality series.’
The other stars who have been announced as contestants so far are actress Caroline Quentin, NBA star Jason Bell, BBC Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo, The Wanted’s Max George and Good Morning Britain’s Ranvir Singh.
Pairs: Natalie reckons Janette Manrara (left) or Karen Hauer (right) could make good potential dance partners for Nicola
The celebrity contestants will be asked to ‘bubble’ with their dance partners for the duration of the series, which is set to be shorter – nine weeks instead of the normal 13 – and quieter, with no live audience to clap and boo.
Judge Bruno Tonioli will be dialling in from Los Angeles for the first five weeks, unable to travel back and forth from his duties at Dancing With The Stars due to the pandemic’s travel rules.
The BBC’s head of entertainment, Kate Phillips, said: ‘Strictly is a slightly shorter run but, apart from that, I don’t think it will be a lesser show at all. If anything, I think this series will be rather special.’
Good luck: Natalie said she hopes Nicola does not get any comments from trolls during the show, insisting it always ends up being an amazing experience for the contestants
Strictly Come Dancing Contestants 2020
Profession: Actress, known for roles in Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek
Caroline says: ‘I hope my knees don’t let me down and I hope the foundation garments live up to expectations when I start leaping about!’
Fun fact: She met her now-husband, Sam Farmer in 1998 on the set of Men Behaving Badly when he was one of the studio runners.
Profession: Singer – from former boy band The Wanted
Max says: ‘Nan – I’m doing Strictly this year!’ as he vowed to make his superfan grandmother proud
Fun Fact: Max’s fellow The Wanted bandmate Jay McGuiness was on Strictlby Come Dancing in 2015 – and won it!
Profession: Radio 1 presenter
Clara says: ‘As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy’
Fun fact: Clara has some experience of celeb gameshows, having taken part on Celebrity Masterchef in 2018
Profession: Retired American Football player – now a pundit
Jason says: ‘I am thrilled. I’m a huge fan of the show, I’ve been watching it since I came to this country, so it’s time for me to do something cool to impress my daughter, now that she can watch me perform!’
Fun Fact: Jason is the father of Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle’s daughter. The couple were together for 11 years, only splitting recently in 2019
Profession: ITV broadcaster, Political Editor for GMB
Ranvir says: ‘It feels like I’m on a rollercoaster… Hopefully after the first dance I will feel exhilarated rather than sick!’
Fun fact: Ranvir is the fourth GMB star to star following Susanna Reid, Richard Arnold and Charlotte Hawkins.
Profession: Double Olympic gold medallist boxer
Nicola says: ‘I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people’s hearts’
Fun fact: Nicola will form the show’s first ever same-sex pairing as she is parterned with a female professional.