Is Paralympian Ade Adepitan’s athleticism about to make him Strictly’s first wheelchair star?
Strictly bosses are lining up a Paralympic basketball player to be the first wheelchair user to appear on the show.
They want TV presenter Ade Adepitan to star on the dance show after deciding a sportsperson would help producers navigate the complexities of their most ambitious attempt to make the show inclusive.
BBC sources also say that Strictly chiefs think it will be better to have a male celebrity in a wheelchair rather than a woman as it will provide more opportunities for the female professional dancer to be lifted in the air and sashay around the wheelchair.
One source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘So much work has gone into this project as Strictly goes where no other show has been before. It is not an easy one to orchestrate but there are things that are going to make it easier.
‘To have someone who is used to being more nimble in their wheelchair would make things less challenging. Having a man instead of a woman will also make it more achievable for things like lifts. That’s not to say going forward that can’t change. Strictly is determined to make this work. They want their programme to be open to all.’
They want TV presenter Ade Adepitan (pictured) to star on the dance show after deciding a sportsperson would help producers navigate the complexities of their most ambitious attempt to make the show inclusive.
Adepitan, who contracted polio as a baby, has been playing basketball since he was 12.
He was a member of the Great Britain team that won bronze at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens.
The Nigerian-born star has guest-presented The One Show. He has also hosted BBC2 series New York: America’s Busiest City in 2016, and has co-presented the BBC’s Children In Need appeal for seven years.
The Mail on Sunday revealed last month that Strictly is to feature a wheelchair-bound celebrity for the first time.
Show bosses had planned to do it last year but ran out of time to train a professional dancer to partner with the contestant.
The move comes after the popularity of the show’s first deaf participant, actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who won the title last year, and Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who made it to week six last year.
It was reported earlier this year that Strictly bosses were hoping to sign Loose Women star Sophie Morgan as the show’s first wheelchair contestant.
They were understood to have thought Ms Morgan, who has worked in TV for nearly 20 years, would have been ‘ideal’.
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