The BBC has defended introducing a same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing after receiving complaints about the move.
Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Nicola Adams will compete on the programme as part of its first same-sex couple in the new series of the celebrity dancing competition.
The corporation said the programme is “first and foremost about dance” and the sex of partners “should have no bearing on their routine” in a statement published on the complaints section of its website.
It added: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same-sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.
“We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same-sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise.
“Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate.”
Strictly has previously featured a same-sex dance when professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Prima performed together on the show last year.
But Adams will be the first celebrity to compete alongside a partner of the same sex.
On Monday, Adams told The Guardian that it is not a “big deal”.
“I guess it’s just breaking those boundaries and showing people that it’s OK,” she added.
“It’s not such an uncommon thing – professional dancers dance with people of the same sex all the time.
“You dance in a nightclub with your friends. I just wanted to break down the thing of it being a big deal when it’s not really a big deal.”
The show would usually return at the end of September, with the final just before Christmas, but its 2020 launch is expected to be slightly delayed.