Strictly Come Dancing bosses are rumoured to have lined up Loose Women star Sophie Morgan. The disability advocate would make history if she does appear, as the first ever wheelchair user to take part in the BBC One competition.
The 38-year-old presenter is paralysed from the chest down following a car accident 20 years ago, when she was 18. She will already be known to many from her work on Loose Women, Paralympics coverage and appearances on various reality TV shows.
A source is reported to have told a national newspaper: “She is the ideal star to take on the role. Plus, she is very glamorous so will look amazing in the sequined costumes. She already has a huge fan base from Loose Women and is a huge advocate of using her platform to promote inclusivity. It’s still very early stages and the crew will officially start on pre-production in the coming months.”
The news comes around a month after it was first revealed bosses of Strictly Come Dancing were keen to cast a wheelchair user as the show maintains it status as one TV’s most inclusive shows. Pulling in millions of viewers each week, Strictly has had great success casting contestants with disabilities including deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, best known for her work on Eastenders, who won the show alongside Giovanni Pernice in 2021.
Paralympian Jonnie Peacock became the very first disabled contestant to take part back in 2017, appearing alongside Strictly judge and Dancing on Ice panellist, Oti Mabuse. Most recently, paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds appeared on the show and while not achieving the same success as Ayling-Ellis, she did make it through to week 7, alongside professional dancer Nikita Kuzmin.
When news broke of wanting to cast a wheelchair user, A BBC source revealed: “This is an extremely challenging project but one that Strictly bosses think is worth it and believe it is going to be absolutely brilliant. There is so much excitement about this at the BBC right now.
“It is yet another example of how progressive and inclusive the programme is. As well as creating some wonderful television moments, it will also give an amazing opportunity to someone in a wheelchair.
“The original plan was that it would happen last year but the logistics are very difficult and to get a professional dancer trained and ready to take this on meant more work than was originally anticipated, so the most sensible thing to do was to put it off for a year.”