Strictly Come Dancing should introduce same-sex couples, says Rev Richard Coles

The popular broadcaster and cleric the Rev Richard Coles had suggested it's time for same-sex dancing couples to be introduced on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, in which Coles stars this year.

Coles, part of the celebrity line-up for the long-running TV-contest, said that 'discussions' have been had with the BBC about including same-sex dancing partners, according to The Telegraph.

BBCThe Anglican priest has suggested it's time for 'Strictly Come Dancing' to include same-sex dancing couples.

Coles, an Anglican priest who is openly gay himself, said: 'We've had a discussion about it actually, and I don't know. I mean, it's in no sense that anyone resists the idea in principle, it's just a question of doing it.'

The reverend added: 'I think it's a good year to do it actually, with the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Decriminalisation Act.'

Strictly, which began again on Saturday night, sees celebrities paired with professional dancers and put through a series of gruelling dance challenges before a judging panel that see couples voted off every week.

Coles' comment come after another celebrity contestant on the show, the lesbian comedian Susan Calman, defended herself from detractors in the LGBT community who criticised her for dancing with a man in the show. 'There will be a time for same-sex dancing,' she said.

A BBC spokeswoman said there was currently 'no plans' to change the traditional mixed-sex couples setup, though some BBC sources suggested the notion hadn't been 'completely ruled-out'.

Coles, who presents BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live, is the only vicar in Britain to have had a number one hit single, having topped the charts with Don't Leave Me This Way with The Communards. The group went on to have three UK top 10 hits and the biggest-selling single of 1986.

He is also an inspiration for the main character in the BBC hit comedy Rev and served as consultant to the series. He is Vicar of St Mary's Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire and Chancellor of the University of Northampton.

Of his involvement in the show, he previously told BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans Breakfast Show: 'A major dance talent was waiting to be discovered. I just wonder what took them so long. I'm in it to win it, as they say.'