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Strictly’s Layton Williams’ place on show defended by Lesley Joseph amid ‘advantage’ row | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV


Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph has shared her thoughts on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing as the BBC competition prepares for a Blackpool special.

The pantomime legend, who competed on the show in 2016, said she is loving the “really good” series so far and is particularly impressed with West End star Layton Williams and former Coronation actor Ellie Leach Street.

During the series, 29-year-old Layton has faced criticism for the dance knowledge he already knows from his 16 years in the West End and his training in jazz, tap and ballet.

EastEnders star Michelle Collins was one of his recent critics claiming it was not “fair” to have him on the show as he is already a professional.

Speaking exclusively to ahead of his time in Jac and the Beanstalk, Lesley, 78, said: “I think Layton is brilliant, the last one he did, the Tango, was Overhead.

“He’s a dancer, but it’s also an entertainment show, you can’t have everyone who couldn’t dance.

“You have to have some people who travel more. And at the end of the day, it’s up to the public to vote for the people who want to vote.

“So, they’ll either vote for someone who’s been on a journey or they’ll vote for Layton, who’s brilliant, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Lesley said she was also impressed with the efforts of Angela Rippon and Annabel Croft so far, but was sad to see her friend Les Dennis leave in the first week after his “very difficult” Samba routine.

Layton recently hit out at the “serious” criticism he was receiving when he addressed how different Ballroom and Latin are from what he already knows.

He said: “I know the cameras are in the room when we’re training, but I wish people could sit there and see how hard it is for me just to understand the basics, especially because Niki promised. [Nikita Kuzmin] not exactly hold back.

“He’s giving me the hardest choreography. This stuff isn’t easy. And it doesn’t come to me like that, with people rolling their eyes going ‘yeah, yeah’, but I’m just working on my own. like everyone else.

“So it’s a little bit frustrating to hear that, but I’m trying to think about the bigger picture of what else I can give people,” he said on the podcast Where There’s a Will, There’s a Wake.

Last week, Layton and his dance partner Nikita scored a near perfect 40 for their amazing Argentine Tango.

In six of the eight weeks so far, the four judges have awarded the two dancers 35 points or more.

The pair will be hoping to do the same in this weekend’s Blackpool special, performing Christina Aguilera’s Couple’s Choice to Ain’t No Other Man routine.

Strictly Come Dancing: Blackpool Special broadcast Saturday at 6.40pm on BBC One.

Jac and the Beanstalk begins its wonderful adventure at the New Theater from Saturday 9 December 2023 to Sunday 7 January 2024.

For more information, or to book a place, visit here.

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