Layton Williams is joining the class of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 – and it looks like viewers could be getting another same-sex pairing after the out gay actor confirmed he’d like to be given a male professional dance partner.
Williams was confirmed to be part of this year’s Strictly line-up on Friday (4 August), with many expecting the out gay star, who has appeared in the West End’s Billy Elliot and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, to get 10s across the board.
Williams is perhaps best-known for his role as gay school student Stephen Carmichael in Jack Whitehall’s BBC series Bad Education – a role Williams reprised for the revival series earlier this year.
The actor told the BBC of his upcoming Strictly journey: “Absolutely buzzing to confirm that I will be taking part in THE most iconic dance competition in the UK! It’s time to bring it to the Ballroom. So excited to learn new skills from the best. Bring on the sequins… ALL the sequins!”
28-year-old Williams also posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, following the BBC’s announcement to confirm that the secret of his participation is out.
Appearance on BBC One’s The One Show during the announcement, Williams admitted he is “pretty nervous” and confirmed that he has requested to dance with a male partner on the series.
Asked whether he had a preferred professional dance partner in mind, Williams replied: “Honestly, truly, I’m happy so long as it’s a guy. I’ve said I want to dance with a man. I want to be flung around.
“Basically, at college I was always vey jealous of the girls being thrown around and was like, “I want to be that!” So I can’t wait to get flung around and wear some glittery costumes.”
In 2022, gay BBC Radio 2 presenter Richie Anderson become part of Strictly’s third same-sex pairing, following in the footsteps of Nicola Adams and Katya Jones (2020), and John Whaite and Johannes Radebe (2021).
However, Williams’ Strictly casting is already proving controversial with some viewers – though happily not because of his sexuality.
On Instagram, multiple commenters have questioned if his participation in the ballroom dance competition is “entirely fair” given theatre and dance background. However, the majority are pleased to see William’s joining the contest, with comments such as “it’s giving winner already” and “she’s won already”.
Williams joins newsreader Angela Rippon, Sherlock star Amanda Abbington and Channel 4 newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy in the 2023 contest, with 11 more celebrities left to be revealed.
On 22 April 2023, Strictly Come Dancing former head judge Len Goodman died of bone cancer.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie, alongside many others, acknowledged the star’s passing and said: “Len was at the very heart of Strictly‘s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.”