Former British lawmaker Ann Widdecombe has found a way to turn her stint on Strictly Come Dancing into an attack on LGBT+ people.
Over more than three decades in politics, Widdecombe consistently attacked LGBT+ rights. She opposed an equal age of consent and same-sex marriage and supported LGBT+ conversion therapy.
Despite this, she won at least some of Britain’s hearts when she appeared on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing – the UK equivalent of Dancing With The Stars – in 2010.
Now, after years of campaigning, the show is finally featuring a same-sex celebrity and professional dance pairing.
When bisexual former Olympic boxer Nicola Adams danced with pro Katya Jones on Saturday (17 October), she made history.
However, the BBC’s belated decision to allow a same-sex pair has also give Widdecombe a license to attack the LGBT+ community.
She said ‘families’ wouldn’t want to watch Strictly because of Adams and Jones.
She told The Sunday Times: ‘I don’t think it is what viewers of Strictly, especially families, are looking for.
‘But that’s up to the audience and the programme.’
However, if viewing figures are any guide, Widdecombe has misjudged Britain.
In fact, the opening episode of the series was the most popular in three years – attracting around 9million viewers.
‘If they don’t like it, switch to another channel’
Widdecombe’s comments will likely come as no surprise to Adams herself.
As she prepared to go on the show, the former Olympic boxer told Radio Times she expected some trolling:
‘I’m expecting the same sort of thing I got with women’s boxing in the beginning. There will always be some resisters. But once they know you’re here to stay, they get used to it.
‘Women dance together all the time in nightclubs. Traditionally I guess men and women would dance together when they were courting, so the older generation have that in their heads. They see it as a sexual thing rather than a sport.
‘So someone’s going to comment on Twitter? It’s nothing, it won’t faze me at all. It’s like – try harder. If they don’t like it, they’re going to have to deal with it or switch to another channel.’