Strictly Come Dancing has finally announced Johannes Radebe as John Whaite’s partner in the forthcoming season.
Taking to their social media channels, the show uploaded a clip of Radebe appearing out of a cake in front of the former British Bake Off star.
“When I saw it was a big sparkly cake I thought ‘oh come on’ it’s got to be Johannes and when he popped out of it I’m blown away,” Whaite said. “It’s a massive honour this, it really is.”
Later in the video, Radebe asked Whaite if he was excited about their upcoming appearance, to which Whaite replied: “It’s all about the dancing.”
He continued: “I’m gonna make sure that you whip me into shape, young man, because I want to dance 12 hours a day. I want to have hips like Shakira.”
During an interview with PA, the two Strictly stars opened up further about their iconic debut and the impact they hope to have.
“I think for me it’s a case of inspiring young people to not feel afraid or ashamed of who they are. It’s as simple as that really,” Whaite explained.
“When I was growing up, I think if I’d seen two women or men dancing on TV on a Saturday night on a mainstream channel, I don’t think I’d have grown up with quite so much shame.”
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) September 18, 2021
Radebe echoed similar sentiments to Whaite and praised the series for being more inclusive.
“Seeing how fast Strictly Come Dancing has come in the years… it just makes me feel proud to be part of the show. And I am so proud of him to allow himself to do this.”
Whaite ended the interview by explaining that their partnership is what the “LGBTQ+ community needs.”
“We have to have it because it’s a representation of true life. It’s not about flag flying it’s not about shouting from the rooftops, it’s about saying this is a reflection of reality,” he explained.
“There are gay people in the world, there are straight people in the world, and we live harmoniously. And the more that we can just represent that on mainstream TV, the less people will question it.
“Because why should it be questioned anymore, you know? We’re just living, and loving, and laughing.”
This isn’t the first time that the Strictly series has introduced a same-sex pairing.
Last season, Olympic double-gold medallist Nicola Adams made history when she was paired with professional dancer Katya Jones.
Unfortunately, their time on the series was cut short due to Jones testing positive for COVID-19.
The live shows for Strictly Come Dancing season 19 is set for 25 September on BBC One.
“It’s a case of inspiring young people to not feel afraid or ashamed of who they are.”
— PA Entertainment (@PAshowbiz) September 19, 2021