Comedian Susan Calman has said she thought about dancing with a woman on Strictly Come Dancing, but was now adamant she wanted to be paired with a male dancer.
The Radio 4 regular said she considers it to be a significant political message to have an openly gay woman dancing on the show with her wife watching from the front row.
Her partner will be revealed during the Strictly Come Dancing launch show on Saturday evening.
Calman said: “I’ve thought about it a lot and I think politically there’s no bigger statement than having an openly gay woman dancing on the biggest show in television with my wife in the front row.
“I love the show and I want to learn how to dance and being political doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a sign. I think part of it is simply saying ‘this is what I want to do’.
“I did think about dancing with a woman, but from the very first moment when I was asked about the show I said I wanted to dance with a man.”
She joked: “With the curse of Strictly, I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on the ladies. It’s going to be bad enough keeping the men away, obviously.
“It’s always been my choice. It’s not been discussed with Strictly, because when they asked me if I wanted to do the show I wanted to dance with a man and do ballroom dancing.”
Calman also addressed criticism she has received on social media for not having a female professional partner.
She said: “People can criticise me all they want, but I’ve worked tirelessly for LGBT equality my whole life and right now I would like to dance and bring entertainment to people by dancing on a Saturday night.
“Dancing’s not necessarily about sex; it’s acting. When I do a sexy tango with my partner I’ll be acting and, fundamentally, I’ve watched the show for years and I want to learn how to dance.
“This is a part of my soul I’ve never unlocked – wearing a dress and heels and make-up – and I think gay women can be anything they want to be. They don’t need to be a particular type of person.
“If by doing that I’m trying to politically unlock that part of it, fine, but fundamentally I want to dance.”
Strictly Come Dancing starts tonight at 7pm on BBC One.