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Strictly's Richie Anderson Has A Defiant Message For Trolls Ahead Of Same-Sex Dancing Debut

Richie Anderson (Photo: BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Richie Anderson (Photo: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Richie Anderson (Photo: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Upcoming Strictly Come Dancing star Richie Anderson has shared a defiant message for social media trolls ahead of his ballroom debut.

The Radio 2 presenter is one of 15 famous faces currently in training for the new series of Strictly, where he will be forming one half of the show’s third ever same-sex pairing.

Olympian Nicola Adams was the first celebrity to dance with a professional of the same sex in 2020, with John Whaite making it to the final a year later alongside Johannes Radebe.

Despite their popularity with the public, both John and Johannes have spoken candidly about the homophobic and racist abuse they received online due to their partnership, with both stepping back from social media during their time on the show in 2021.

Asked about this during an interview with HuffPost UK and other media earlier this month, Richie admitted: “I don’t pay much attention to trolls online. At the end of the day, I’m doing something that I’ve always wanted to do and enjoying myself.”

Richie has insisted he won't let trolls affect his time on Strictly (Photo: BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Richie has insisted he won't let trolls affect his time on Strictly (Photo: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Richie has insisted he won't let trolls affect his time on Strictly (Photo: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

He continued: “We often focus on the trolls a lot, but on my Instagram… there’s a lot of love, and more people are positive than negative. So, if somebody wants to take 10 seconds of their day to say something arsey to me online, then that’s more on them than me. I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing.

“I’m having fun, I’m on Strictly Come Dancing! And I’m so grateful to be here. So people can say what they want, really. It’s a shame that people feel that they have to, but [they’re in the] minority.”

Richie also revealed that when he was first approached about signing up for Strictly, bosses gave him the option of dancing with a male or female professional.

“I went home and spoke to my other half,” he recalled. “This year is our 10-year anniversary, and he said to me, ‘you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to go out there and dance with a man’.”

Richie added: “And he said, ‘how would you feel throwing one of those women up in the air? You’ll probably injure them with how clumsy you are’. So it was a no-brainer, really. And it’s such an honour.

“Watching John and Johannes last year, and Nicola and Katya the year before, they were majestic and I wish, for me, as a gay teenager growing up that I would have had that representation on television. I wish when I was growing up I could have switched on primetime television on a Saturday night and seen two men dancing together.

“It’s honestly inspired me, John and Johannes and Nicola and Katya are one of the reasons I’m doing it this year, I’m so inspired by them.”

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe performing together on Strictly last year (Photo: Guy Levy/BBC via PA Media)
John Whaite and Johannes Radebe performing together on Strictly last year (Photo: Guy Levy/BBC via PA Media)

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe performing together on Strictly last year (Photo: Guy Levy/BBC via PA Media)

Meanwhile, Richie also revealed he’s something of a Strictly superfan, admitting: “I’ve been to three arena tours in the past, I even managed to get second row one year. 

“I’ve been an audience member at It Takes Two twice. This year, I wanted to get audience tickets for the main show but I got a call to be on it, so it’s the best upgrade ever.”

Joining Richie on this year’s series of Strictly are celebrities including actor Will Mellor, pop singer Fleur East, Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and comedian Jayde AdamsCheck out the full line-up here.

Strictly Come Dancing will launch on Friday 23 September at 7pm on BBC One, having been postponed by almost a week following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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