Strictly is ready for same-sex partners insists Rev Richard
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