The series will make history when it airs next year.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Dancing on Ice would make history by introducing a same-sex dancing couple with former Steps singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins paired with professional skater Matt Evers.

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.

Ahead of his debut on the judging panel, former Doctor Who and Torchwood star, John Barrowman praised the coupling, saying it will “represent him and his husband.”

Barrowman was named as a judge following Jason Gardiner’s departure. He also competed on the first series of Dancing on Ice, being the fourth celebrity to be eliminated, despite finishing third on the leaderboard.

Speaking to the PA news agency at the series launch, held at the Bovingdon Airfield in Hertfordshire, he said: “What’s great about this – with having a same-sex couple – it’s finally on TV and I am so proud that I am involved in the year they are doing it.

“Two guys skating who represent me, who represent myself and my husband, so that we can sit down and rewatch it after the programme has been on.

“And we can look and be: ‘That’s us – that is how we would skate’.

“It’s great that ITV are opening the doors and allowing that to happen. I know there is some criticism as to whether it is two guys and it’s not two girls and it’s not this…”

ITV / YouTube

He added: “The fact of the matter is that it is something that is representing the LGBTQ+ community and we all have to get behind them – if they are good.

“You better be good, guys. Because if you are not you are going to be letting the team down. No pressure at all – no pressure H.”

Strictly Come Dancing is yet to introduce a same-sex couple on the show, although they have said that they are “open” to the idea, but same-sex dancing has featured in its professional routines.

Earlier this series, professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima danced to Emeli Sandé’s Shine. Speaking about the routine, Johannes said: “I’ve never felt so liberated. For the first time in my life, I feel accepted for who I am. That says so much about the people of this country.

“To be able to dance with a friend I respect and adore is joyous. There’s bromance galore between us, but there were no male and female roles, just free movement. It was beautiful, classy and elegant.”

Graziano later wrote on Instagram: “Our friendship is difficult to explain, we went through so many moments together that we can understand each other without saying a WORD.. As I say to you most of the time: You will be part of my life FOREVER.”

Dancing on Ice will return in 2020.

Related: Dancing on Ice star Matt Evers “wanted a same-sex partner for years” on the show