Nicola Adams has said being paired with a female professional on Strictly Come Dancing is a “brilliant step in the right direction, especially on the diversity side of things”.
She will become the first celebrity to be part of a same-sex pairing on the popular BBC One series when it returns on October 17 for the launch show.
Olympic champion Adams, 37, said: “It means a lot to me. I think it’s a brilliant step in the right direction especially on the diversity side of things.
“And women actually dance with women all the time in the professional circuit so I guess it’s just showing people that it can be done”.
Last week, singer and YouTube star HRVY, 21, revealed he was isolating for 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.
It is understood he will still take part in the launch show – when the celebrities are paired with their dance partners – depending on him getting a negative test result.
This year’s series will be shorter than usual due to the pandemic, with the first live show airing on October 24.
Completing the 12-strong celebrity line-up alongside HRVY, real name Harvey Leigh Cantwell, and Adams is comedian Bill Bailey, actress Caroline Quentin, reality star Jamie Laing, former home secretary Jacqui Smith and The Wanted’s Max George.
They are joined by DJ Clara Amfo, BBC pundit and former NFL star Jason Bell, former Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers, soap star Maisie Smith and Good Morning Britain’s Ranvir Singh.
Made in Chelsea star Laing said if he gets injured again this year then the infamous Strictly curse is about his foot.
The TV star and entrepreneur was due to be part of last year’s Strictly line-up but had to pull out in the early stages due to an injury.
He said: “If I get injured again it would look like I bottled it! So I really have to be careful. I’m not worried, I feel like I’m pretty fit and healthy. If something happens then the Strictly curse isn’t about me sleeping with someone else, it’s definitely about my foot!”.
Over the years, the so-called Strictly curse has seen celebrity dancers and their professional partners become intimate over the course of the show during the hours they spend rehearsing together.
During the launch show, after the pairings announcement, the celebrities and professionals will take to the dance floor for a group performance.
Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas will return to the panel this year.
Bruno Tonioli will initially be absent from the Saturday night panel because he is in the US as a judge on Dancing With The Stars.
But he will join the show remotely for the Sunday night results show and is due to return full-time towards the end of the series, the BBC has said.
This year’s series will have a much-reduced live audience, with people applying for tickets also being instructed that they will have to wear face coverings, preferably black ones, throughout the recording and while on site at the studios in Elstree.
According to guidance on the BBC’s Shows and Tours website, tickets this year are limited and they will also seat family groups of “four people from the same household/social bubble at cabaret tables and in balcony seating”.
The website says the corporation will also be supporting the NHS Test and Trace Scheme, and urges people to not attend recordings if they “begin to develop any of the symptoms of coronavirus or if you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus”.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One for the launch show on October 17.