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WATCH ON DEMAND FROM 25 Jan 2021
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Eggheads panellist claims BBC Strictly rejected him after requesting same-sex partner

BBC Eggheads panelist CJ de Mooi has claimed he was rejected from this year's Strictly Come Dancing line-up after requesting a male partner.

De Mooi said his manager had approached the show's producers who instead opted for Eggheads host Jeremy Vine as de Mooi asked to be paired with a male dancer.

Speaking to Radio 1's Newsbeat, de Mooi said he believed it was "time this format in Britain had a same-sex couple" and called the show behind the times for not agreeing to his request.

De Mooi, who is one of five quiz champions on the BBC Two show and openly gay, has since taken issue with a statement issued by the BBC in response to his claims, which read: "Strictly is a family show and we have chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples."

"I don't want to say that Strictly are conservative but I think their announcement that they're a 'family show' and have no plans for same-sex couples seems that they're being a little narrow-minded and defining family in some very narrow terms," said de Mooi.

"I think it's horrible to say 'your family has to be one man, one woman and 2.4 children' what a revolting thing to say in 2015. It's hardly conductive to a spirit of inclusivity is it? I should think quite a few gay people watch Strictly and work on Strictly."

The BBC's excuse of being a "family show" has angered users on social media as well. A spokesperson for the broadcaster clarified: "To avoid any misrepresentation the reference to 'family show' - meaning all kinds of families - was only ever intended to describe the kind of show Strictly is. It was not to explain casting decisions."

The inclusion of same-sex partners on the BBC show have been in contention for some time with judge Craig Revel-Horwood claiming earlier in the year he believed the gender rules would change within the next two years. However, the spokesperson for the show said there were "no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition" at this time.

The BBC spokesperson also clarified that the show "never approached nor had any plans to approach CJ to participate" but that de Mooi's agent had given them "the opportunity to consider him".

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