Claudia Winkleman says 'Strictly Come Dancing' wanted to become more inclusive "a while ago".

Claudia Winkleman: Representation is everything on Strictly

Claudia Winkleman: Representation is everything on Strictly

The BBC One Latin and ballroom contest has featured everyone from Paralympians to members of the LGBTQ community.

On the current series, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe made history as the show's first-ever all-male couple, while they have their first deaf contestant in 'EastEnders' actress Rose Ayling-Ellis.

And co-host Claudia - who presents alongside Tess Daly - has insisted "representation is everything" on 'Strictly'.

Speaking to the new issue of The Big Issue magazine - which will be available from Monday (22.11.21) - the 49-year-old TV star said: “I’d like to think that it wasn’t controversial.

“I think it’s important, but I would also say – and maybe I just have a positive outlook – that I think most of the UK just go [shrugs].

“'Strictly' decided a while ago to try and widen who was doing it, because representation is everything.”

Claudia was eager to learn sign language to be able to communicate with Rose off-air.

She said: “We have all done awareness courses.

“I’m trying to learn as much sign language as possible – not necessarily to do on screen, but for when I’m communicating with her off air. The first thing I wanted to learn – although I haven’t needed to use it yet – was how to say ‘The judges are horrid.’”

Elsewhere, Claudia reflected on the reaction to two women being made the co-hosts of the programme after she replaced the late Sir Bruce Forsyth when he retired in 2014.

She recalled: “They were like, ‘Two women!?’.

“We were like, erm, OK, all right, well, we’ll give it our best shot.”