Strictly’s Neil Jones discusses show’s lack of diversity

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Last night on Access All Areas, Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Neil Jones said more needs to be done to diversify the show.

Speaking to hosts Joanna Chimonides and Stephen Leng about the upcoming series, the 38-year-old explained: “I did say this year that I’d be really up for if they brought in like wheelchair dancing or someone hard of hearing, or something like that. I just think we need to open up dancing to more people.

“It’s been great that we’ve had a lot of Paralympian’s but I think there’s a lot of areas that we could then move into, to basically say to everyone, you can all dance.”

When asked whether the show would ever consider same sex couples, after ITV’s Dancing on Ice featured it’s first male-male pairing this year, the dancer explained: “I think with Strictly, they don’t ever want to make it about that. They don’t want to turn around to people, ‘we’re doing it because people say we need to do it’. If the show tells us that’s what they wanna do, we’ll do it. We’re all up for it!”

It is currently unknown whether the show will go ahead this year due to strict social distancing rules, but the professional dancer revealed some positive news: “I think it’s going to go ahead but it’s all about how it’s going to work. It’s going to be pretty hard to dance with someone two metres away. I think we’re going to have a meeting soon and then we’re just going to find out what’s going on.”

Neil went on to explain why the show should go ahead despite the pandemic: “I think it’s one of these shows where the country needs it. Even if we’re still stuck in isolation, the country wants to see a TV show like that.”

You can listen back to the full chat with Neil here.

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