Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has praised Dancing On Ice following news it will feature a same-sex couple on the show.
The ITV series, which returns in the new year, confirmed last week that Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins will be teamed up with professional skater Matt Evers.
Ballas, the head judge on the BBC’s flagship Saturday night dancing series, told ITV’s Loose Women: “I have to say for me, it’s movement to music, of two people, it doesn’t matter whether it’s two men, two women.
“For me it’s absolutely natural, but they did rather pip it to the post. I think it’s magnificent. The world is a changing place. Dance is a beautiful art form that you can do to music and good luck to all that take part.”
She also spoke about her boyfriend Daniel Taylor, who made an appearance on the show.
Ballas, 59, said the focus on the age gap in their relationship is “sexist”.
She said: “Well, the press seem to always want to put him down as 44, he’ll be 47 on his next birthday.
“I just think it’s so sexist. It doesn’t seem to matter if an older man gets a younger woman. There’s not much chat about it. There seems to be major chat about this (relationship). There’s 12 years, 13 maybe.”
Recounting how they met, Ballas said it was love at first sight for her.
She explained: “We met on panto as friends. It didn’t really take off until March… for him. I fell in love way before… I think for me it was first sight”.