Strictly is ready for same-sex part­ners in­sists Rev Richard

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Giles Sheldrick

STRICTLY Come Danc­ing’s Rev Richard Coles thinks it is only a mat­ter of time be­fore same-sex cou­ples com­pete on the show.

The pop star turned Church of Eng­land vicar says he thinks the BBC has missed a trick by not cel­e­brat­ing a land­mark gay rights an­niver­sary this se­ries.

It is 50 years since the Sex­ual Of­fences Act partly de­crim­i­nalised ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and the gay ac­tivist thought it would be a good time to ac­knowl­edge this.

A row over the lack of same-sex cou­ples has over­shad­owed the 15th se­ries, but change may be afoot ac­cord­ing to Rev Coles.


He said: “I thought this might be the year to have a nod in that di­rec­tion.

“I think ev­ery­thing is mov­ing that way and if it hap­pened it wouldn’t bother me in the slight­est. In fact, I would wel­come it.

“At that point I could be Kate [Winslet] and Al­jaz [Sko­r­janec] could be Jack [from Ti­tanic].

“But then what do I know, I am not a dancer. One thing I have dis­cov­ered from my time on Strictly is how a man and a wo­man dance to­gether.”

Rev Coles, 55, vicar of St Mary the Vir­gin, Fine­don in Northants, said he had a “road to Damascus” con­ver­sion from his days of drug tak­ing and care-free sex to his now celi­bate life as a man of the cloth.

Rev Coles, who shot to fame as one half of 1980s pop band The Com­mu­nards, once even claimed he was HIV pos­i­tive in a bid to gain sym­pa­thy and at­ten­tion.

When he bragged of haunt­ing night­clubs in Ibiza but “can­not re­mem­ber any of it at all”, he was be­ing en­tirely hon­est.

He turned to God partly out of shame at his past, but now lives a quiet life with civil part­ner, the Rev David Coles.

“Part of my life was a very dark pe­riod when I be­haved very badly so I hope there is an el­e­ment of re­demp­tion to what I am do­ing now and I hope I am de­serv­ing of it,” he said.

“There are things I wish I hadn’t done but we are all more than the sum of our parts. One of the things Chris­tian­ity does is help you be able to deal with that.”

Tonight Rev Coles and Aus­tralian dance part­ner Dianne Buswell, 27, will at­tempt an Amer­i­can Smooth to Love Re­ally Hurts With­out You by Billy Ocean.


He has al­ready been compared to Ed Balls, the former politi­cian pop­u­lar in last year’s se­ries.

He said: “I’m im­mensely flat­tered to be compared to Ed Balls and, yes, I think I bring a cer­tain com­edy to the role. Strictly has been de­mand­ing, chal­leng­ing but joy­ous and I am lov­ing it.

“Tonight could very well be my last dance but if that is to be the case I will re­turn to my parish an un­usual shade of conker, but hav­ing en­joyed ev­ery minute of the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Strictly Come Danc­ing, tonight, BBC One, 6.45pm.

His last dance? Rev Richard Coles

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