Strictly Come Dancing star Richie Anderson has revealed he was allowed to choose if he wanted to dance in an all-male partnership.
The 34-year-old opened up about the upcoming competition, which returns on 23 September.
He called his partnership a “massive honour” when he was confirmed on the lineup of stars who will take to the dance floor.
Anderson disclosed that the Strictly producers allowed him some choice over who he was paired up with.
“They actually gave me the option over it,” he explained.
“They said they want me to be on Strictly this year and they were like ‘do you want to be with a female or male partner?’”
Anderson credited his long-term partner Dean Eagles for encouraging him to be in an all-male partnership.
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“When I spoke to my other half Dean, it was our 10-year anniversary, and he was like ‘you have to’ and it’s the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK.”
“It would be such a proud moment to be dancing with a male pro,” the former Sunday league footballer concluded.
Richie and his soon-to-be-revealed partner have followed in the footsteps of last year’s first ever all-male partnership, Bake Off winner John Whaite and Johannes Radebe.
The pair were a perfect 10 together, and made it to the final.
Following the announcement of a second male same-sex dance partnership, Whaite said he was “bloody pleased” that the show continued to diversify its pairings.
He stated: “Queer-inclusion isn’t a box-ticking exercise for one series, it’s a fundamental shift in the narrative for life.”
Viewers will have to wait until Friday’s launch show to find out who Richie’s been paired with.
Anderson said he felt “inspired” by John and Johannes, as well as first all-female pairing, boxer Nicola Adams and her pro, Katya Jones: “I wish as a teenage gay guy, I would have seen that representation on television when I was growing up.”