TV host Judge Rob Rinder wants to make a triumphant return to BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, but this time he wants a male partner.
The openly gay barrister began hosting ITV’s reality courtroom series Judge Rinder in 2014 and quickly became a fan-favourite. He also participated in Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, coming in fifth with his partner Oskana Platero.
Judge Rob Rinder told Metro’s 60 Seconds that he wants to return to the dancefloor once more in a same-sex pairing, and he knows who he wants to be his partner.
“I’ve always said if I was invited to do the Christmas special, I’d do it with Anton du Beke,” Rinder said. “But now he’s not available, I could see myself doing a salsa with Giovanni Pernice or Graziano Di Prima. If they’re offering, I’m in!”
Rob Rinder on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 (YouTube/BBC)
Rinder was offered a same-sex pairing on Strictly‘s 2020 Christmas special, but COVID-19 forced the episode to be scrapped in favour of a clip show. The TV personality said he would “do anything” to pair up with du Beke, who he had previously “danced on stage” with “for a Grenfell Tower benefit”.
“Ultimately, a same-sex couple is inevitable,” Judge Rob Rinder predicted at the time.
In June, it was announced that du Beke, a ballroom dancer, would replace Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel for Strictly’s upcoming season. Tonioli had been a judge on the dancing competition series since 2004, but producers said he is unable to fly over from the US due to ongoing travel restrictions because of COVID.
Du Beke – who has been a dance partner on the show for over a decade – will join Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas on the judging panel.
Judge Rob Rinder has expressed his annoyance at people asking him if he believes same-sex dances on the show. He told Lorraine Kelly in 2017 that it was a “perfectly reasonable question”, and he understands “why people are asking it”.
“First of all, it’s a sport,” Rinder explained. “Nobody was asking me to get married to my partner [Oskana Platero] or to engage in any sort of… geography with her. They wanted me to dance with her.”
He continued: “I don’t think it’s going to make any difference to the life of any young person – and there are a lot of young people that find it very difficult to come out in the LGBTQI community – if she dances with an almost straight woman.
“But there are amazing charities that do need our assistance, whether she dances with a man or not is going to make no difference to anybody.”