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Strictly stars on Layton Williams, same-sex couples and anti-LGBTQ backlash

Strictly returns this Saturday (16 September)

By Alastair James

Zara McDermott, Layton Williams, and Jody Cundy
Zara McDermott, Layton Williams, and Jody Cundy (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

The stars of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 have shared their views on same-sex couples.

Among the class of 2023 are Attitude Award winner Layton Williams, actor Nigel Harman, and presenter Angela Scanlon.

Layton is the latest in a (hopefully) growing number of LGBTQ stars to grace the Strictly dancefloor. In recent years he’s been preceded by John Whaite, Richie Anderson, and Nicola Adams.

Angela Rippon, Layton Williams, Nigel Harman, Ellie Leach, Amanda Abbington, Les Dennis, Adam Thomas, Eddie Kadi, Angela Scanlon, Nikita Kanda, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Annabel Croft, Jody Cundy, Zara McDermot and Bobby Brazier (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

The cast spoke with Attitude during the press launch and shared their thoughts on Layton, same-sex couples, and anti-LGBTQ backlash.

Ellie Leach, Coronation Street

Ellie Leach (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“I love the fact that they’re bringing same-sex couples and being really inclusive.”

Adam Thomas, Waterloo Road

Adam Thomas (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“I wanted a male dancer to be honest with you. I just didn’t get one. Layton has to steal all the glory!”

Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Channel 4

Krishnan Guru-Murthy (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“It hasn’t even occurred to me as a thing that would be remotely controversial. We’re beyond that aren’t we? Britain is a progressive place and life has changed immeasurably in terms of the way we view everyone. I don’t even think it’s an issue.”

Annabel Croft, Former British Tennis pro

Annabel Croft (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“Layton’s a wonderful dancer and I think he’s going to be very popular; I think. He’s amazing. He really is quite spectacular.”

Bobby Brazier, Eastenders

Bobby Brazier (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“Great, Good for him [Layton], right?

Zara McDermott, former Love Island contestant and presenter

Zara McDermott (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“I think we’re completely supportive. Layton is incredible. [To critics] Look around you, look at society now. It’s important to be representative of what our world looks like and what our society looks like.”

Eddie Kadi, comedian

Eddie Kadi (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“It’s beautiful. Everyone’s coming from different walks of life and everyone’s got different experiences. What you want in anything you do is [for] everyone to feel comfortable in who they are. You want to come into something like this and have the best experience ever. I’m sure Layton’s having a great time, in fact, I know he’s having a great time!”

Jody Cundy CBE, Paralympian

Jody Cundy (Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

“Layton’s loving every moment which is fabulous, it’s great to see. But we’ve also got the diversity of disability in there as well. We’ve got all bases covered, which is fabulous. It’s great that that’s part of this world that we live in nowadays. Nothing’s hidden away, it’s all open it’s all out in front. Nobody’s treated any differently, which is the most important part. We’re literally just here to dance and have fun. And nothing else matters. We could all be dressed in exactly the same thing and just judge it on dancing. We’re here to have fun.”

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One and the BBC iPlayer on Saturday 16 September at 6:35pm.