ITV / YouTube

Dancing On Ice will make history next year.

After years of debate over whether BBC series Strictly Come Dancing should allow same-sex pairings to compete, rival ITV show Dancing On Ice has beaten them to it, as they will introduce their first same-sex couple in 2020.

The popular ice skating competition will partner celebrity contestant Ian ‘H’ Watkins – who shot to fame as part of chart-topping British pop group Steps in the late 1990s – with Dancing On Ice professional Matt Evers, ITV has confirmed.

The decision reportedly came after Ian asked about the possibility of being paired with a male professional, and the the production team on the show were “fully supportive” of the idea.

Ian will compete against fellow celebrities including Trisha Goddard, Joe Swash, Michael Barrymore, Caprice Bourret, Ben Hanlin, Kevin Kilbane, Lucrezia Millarini, Maura Higgins, Lisa George, Libby Clegg and Perri Kiely on the ice.

Next year will also see the introduction of actor and singer John Barrowman, who will join Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and Ashley Banjo on the judging panel following the departure of Jason Gardiner.

Dancing On Ice returns to ITV in 2020.