Strictly Come Dancing drag performance defended by BBCDecember 10, 2020
The BBC has responded to complaints over Strictly Come Dancing’s drag performance last weekend, stating proudly that it is an ‘inclusive’ series.
During Saturday night’s episode, professional dancer Johannes Radebe teamed up with co-stars Gorka Marquez and Giovanni Pernice for a glorious tribute to musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was hailed by fans as ‘one of the best opening dances’.
However, the routine received around 100 Ofcom complaints from viewers who felt it was inappropriate for the family show.
Defending the performance, the BBC said in a statement: ‘Strictly Come Dancing’s theme weeks prove very popular with viewers and to kick off this Musicals Week special the professional dancers pulled out all the stops and paid homage to the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which has received universal acclaim.’
It continued: ‘It was intended to be a fun and entertaining musicals dance for our viewers who are used to and expect Strictly to be glamourous.
‘We feel that it’s important to allow the choreographers and professional dancers to exercise creative freedom when putting together routines for a programme of this nature. Strictly is an inclusive show and we always ensure that the programme’s content is appropriate.’
The colourful ensemble saw Johannes and his fellow professional dancers dressed in drag in ruffled 1970s-style outfits, complete with heels, rainbow-patterned fans and make-up.
Johannes later shared a joyful video from behind the scenes of judge Motsi Mabuse having a blast dancing away as she watched the performance backstage.
As criticism mounted, professional dancer Anton Du Beke addressed the controversy on Steph’s Packed Lunch and said: ‘I don’t know. It’s silly really and it’s a shame.’
He added: ‘It is a movie and this wasn’t just camp time, we weren’t just frocking up for sake of it – it is the movie Priscilla and if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what it’s all about… I thought they did a great job of it.’
Judge Craig Revel Horwood also defended the tribute and said: ‘It’s a form of theatre. They’re artists, they’re dancers and they are involving themselves in characters.
‘I was just really sad that I didn’t make an entrance, I was so jealous, I wanted to be in there with a big blue emu on my head.’
‘I think it’s mad to complain about something like that… If you haven’t seen that movie, I suggest you go and watch it and see why they were doing what they were doing,’ he added.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Saturday at 7pm.
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