After rumors of several gay British celebrities joining the popular dance show started swirling, it is now confirmed that Great British Bake Off season three winner John Whaite will be joining Strictly Come Dancing as a part of the show’s first all-male team!
The announcement came from Matt Lucas, who revealed Whaite will be joining the program on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show this morning.
In a statement, Whaite said that he’s “grateful, excited, and nervous” to be joining the show. “I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth,” he said.
“What’s more exciting for me, is that I’m going to be one half of the first all-male partnership, which is a great step forward in representation and inclusion,” Whaite added, “Whoever it is I’m paired with, I hope they are up for a challenge as I want our routines to include lots of spectacular lifts!”
Previously, Olympic diver Tom Daley and comedian Alan Carr were rumored to be among the top contenders for the spot. Either of them could still join the show, as several of the celebrity contestants have yet to be announced.
Whaite became a celebrity in 2012, when he won the third season of Great British Bake Off at the age of 23. Since then he’s become a popular TV chef and published five cookbooks. He also has a weekly cooking segment of the show Steph’s Packed Lunch and runs his own cooking school, John Whaite’s Kitchen.
Whaite and his partner will be the first all-male pair to compete on the show, but not the first same-sex couple. Last year, Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and dancer Katya Jones competed together, but unfortunately, had to drop out when Jones got sick.
However, their debut was still a massive success, with more than 10 million people tuning in to watch their debut, making it the highest-rated first live show on Strictly Come Dancing in a decade.