Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has called for transgender representation in future series of the programme and shared how missing his first show in 17 years made him appreciate it so much more.
Chatting to host Bobby Norris on Access All Areas, the 56-year-old gave his thoughts on what the BBC could do to be more inclusive in the future: “We could go down the transgender route. I think dance is a platform for anybody no matter who you are or where you’re from.”
This year’s series has been Strictly’s most inclusive yet, having welcomed their first same-sex dancing partnership with John Waite and Johannes Radebe, in addition to the show’s first ever deaf contestant, actress Rose Ayling Ellis. The judge hopes these strives for greater representation continue in future years: “Humans have been dancing since the cave men were dancing around fires for fertility and rain. We’re social, we like dancing, we like celebrating and I think it’s time to do that.”
The ballroom veteran raved to Bobby about the incredibly high standard they’ve seen this series: “The celebrities this year have just been extraordinary and unlike any other year to be honest”.
Thinking ahead to the final he said: “I just don’t know what the outcome’s going to be. I love Rose, I love AJ [Odudu], I love John and Johannes.” He adds chuckling: “I even love Dan [Walker].”
Speaking more on the BBC Breakfast presenter, who Craig scored a measly 6 for his routine last week, he said: “I know that Dan is loved by every housewife in the UK. He has the full support of them which is fantastic and that’s why the audience get 50% of the vote.”
He also added that he thinks the final will be different to previous years when it comes to voting: “I’m really looking forward to seeing who the audience chooses to put through because I think it won’t be down to the judges this year. The judges are very equal now and there’s no one standing out that’s really terrible. It’s gonna be a really fine line I think to see who actually gets to the winning line.”
Despite having a reputation for being a harsh marker, the former drag queen reflected that this year he’s enjoying being more complimentary: “People who have never danced are really dancing up around the 8’s and the 9’s which is insane. I’m probably appearing to be a lot kinder and nicer because of that.”
“I’ve been able to be a lot more complimentary because of it as well, which has been fantastic for me.”
This series of the immensely popular BBC entertainment show also saw another first for Craig: “I missed my first show in 17 years a couple of weeks ago.”
The former West End star tested positive for Covid and was absent on the judging panel for musicals week. As frustrating as this was for him, Craig reflected on the inconvenience positively: “I discovered a whole new love for it.”
He went on to say: “When I’m at work I’m watching it to criticise, to see what’s wrong, how I’m gonna improve their dancing. But when I was at home, it was completely different, I got sucked into their stories and it was just amazing.”
The star has also commended the BBC for their efforts in ensuring the show went ahead this year: “They’ve been really supportive, really protective of everyone on the show as well, so I can only commend them for getting it on. It would’ve been very easy I think for the BBC to turn around and say ‘Oh we’re not doing strictly this year.’”
“Especially with the lead up to Christmas we all want a little bit of fun, we all want to feel safe, protected and secure. But people need entertainment and people need a life again.”
The choreographer is looking forward to the quarter final this weekend and remains thankful to be able do a job he loves: “I’m really proud to be a part of it still and I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t want to change my Saturday job for anything.”
Listen to the full episode of Access All Areas here.