Layton Williams insists Strictly 'is not easy for me' as he hits back at theatre experience backlash

Layton Williams insists Strictly 'is not easy for me' as he hits back at theatre experience backlash

WATCH NOW: Layton Williams earns a 10 for his Cha Cha

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 19/10/2023

- 11:15

The Strictly star has been impressing the judges so far this series with his performances

Layton Williams has publicly addressed the backlash he's received for having a background in musical theatre and performing prior to landing a part on Strictly.

The 29-year-old may be best known to telly-watchers as a schoolboy in the Jack Whitehall comedy series Bad Education but his foray into the spotlight began long before.

At just 12 years old, Williams landed a role in the stage show Billy Elliott and had been enrolled in theatre school.

Post-Bad Education, the wealth of musical experience on his CV grew further when he took on the lead role in the West End smash Everyone's Talking About Jamie.

Therefore, his inclusion in the Strictly line-up against a whole host of other celebrities with little to no dance experience has been blasted by a number of fans.

But reacting to the furore surrounding his inclusion, Williams conceded: "I’ve taken it on the chin, I get what everyone’s saying.

Layton Williams

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin have been praised by the judges throughout


"But if you could be a fly on the wall in this rehearsal room, it’s not easy for me," he insisted to the Guardian.

Williams' comments come just days after he admitted to asking show bosses for "more money" to pay for "therapy" during his time on-screen after finding the attention garnered "hard".

While he claims his experience performing doesn't make his tenure in the ballroom easier, Williams did suggest the judges score him with it in mind.

"I’m not sad about that," he said of the judges' scoring. "I want to rise to the challenge."

And rise to the challenge Williams certainly appears to have done, bagging a Strictly record this past weekend thanks to his Cha Cha alongside pro partner Nikita Kuzmin.

Motsi Mabuse awarded Williams with a score of 10 - the earliest a perfect score has ever been given to a Cha Cha in Strictly history.

Williams' claims that his experience doesn't necessarily equate to an easier ride of things on the show have been backed up by two former Strictly pros as well.

Ian Waite and Vincent Simone spoke exclusively to GB News earlier this year and defended the inclusion of stars with a background in performing prior to the latest series kicking off.

Waite told GB News: "You're never ever going to get an even cast who have had the same amount of experience. There's always going to be one or two that have, whether they had dance classes when they were younger, or they did musical theatre, or they went to stage school.

"I mean, most people in entertainment have done some sort of training like that. So I don't think we're going to go into there with an even keel."

Layton Williams

Layton Williams is one of the favourites to win Strictly


He continued: "I think the variety is key actually. We've had so many people that have won Strictly that started off with no dance experience at all, like Chris Hollins, people like that.

"So you never know. Also, it's about capturing the audience's imagination and, you know, you just have to do the right thing and one dance can win you the competition."

Simone also weighed as he suggested: "On the other side, I've had people that have been trained in musical theatre, but when it comes to ballroom and Latin American dancing, they really, really struggle.

"I mean, most of my shows I've done in West End, I had musical theatre people (around me) and when the director said, 'Why don't you try teach them some Waltz or something?' I had girls crying their eyes out just on three steps because it's something that they're not familiar with.

"So the technical side of what we do, it's so extreme that it can just shut the bodies down. I mean, it's a long process. So sometimes it's best if you haven't danced at all."

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