John Barrowman has said that Ian “H” Watkins and Matt Evers will represent him and his husband when the pair make history as the first same-sex couple on Dancing On Ice.
The Steps star, 43, is taking part in the upcoming series of the ITV ice-skating show and will be teamed up with professional Evers.
Torchwood star Barrowman, 52, who is replacing Jason Gardiner on the show’s judging panel, said he felt “so proud” to be involved in the programme this year.
Speaking to the PA news agency at the series launch at Bovingdon Airfield, Hertfordshire, he urged the LGBT+ community to get behind Watkins and Evers – but only if they are good.
He said: “What’s great about this – with having a same-sex couple – it’s finally on TV and I am so proud that I am involved in the year they are doing it.
“Two guys skating who represent me, who represent myself and my husband, so that we can sit down and rewatch it after the programme has been on.
“And we can look and be: ‘That’s us – that is how we would skate’.
“It’s great that ITV are opening the doors and allowing that to happen. I know there is some criticism as to whether it is two guys and it’s not two girls and it’s not this…
“The fact of the matter is that it is something that is representing the LGBTQ+ community and we all have to get behind them – if they are good.”
“Right? That’s another big thing,” he quipped.
“You better be good, guys. Because if you are not you are going to be letting the team down. No pressure at all – no pressure H.”
The announcement that DOI would feature its first same-sex couple came after years of speculation that same-sex couples would feature on a TV dance competition.
The BBC previously said it was “completely open” to having them on Strictly Come Dancing, and aired a single same-sex dance featuring two professionals this year.
Barrowman also revealed that he would be performing on the show, despite rupturing the vertebrae in his neck while performing a dance move last week.
The TV star was taken to hospital where he was treated with a series of injections into his neck, but reassured fans he would still appear on DOI.
Asked whether he felt able to return to the rink, he said: “I’m not answering that question. You will have to wait and see. Put it this way. I will be performing.”
He added: “I am still quite stiff on my right hand side but it’s getting better.
“I am still not able to jump around like I normally do but by the time the show goes I will be fine.
“I love that my fan family are generally interested about my well-being. I am on the mend so I have had a couple of injections in my vertebrae and my spine, and they are working.”
Watkins will be joined on the 2020 edition of DOI by celebrities including businesswoman Caprice Bourret, TV presenter Trisha Goddard, magician Ben Hanlin, former professional footballer Kevin Kilbane and newsreader Lucrezia Millarini.
Love Island star Maura Higgins, Michael Barrymore and Joe Swash will also compete, with soap actress Lisa George, Scottish Paralympic sprinter Libby Clegg and Diversity star Perri Kiely also taking part.
Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and Ashley Banjo will be joined on the judging panel by Barrowman, following the departure of Gardiner.