Layton Williams has said that he was “surprised” to be partnered with professional dancer Nikita Kuzmin on Strictly Come Dancing.
Williams, 29, who is known for his role in BBC Three’s Bad Education, was revealed to be partnered with professional dancer Kuzmin, 25, in Saturday’s launch episode, becoming the series’ only same-sex couple.
Discussing the moment he found out his partner was Kuzmin, Williams told the PA news agency: “I was a little surprised, just because I didn’t think I was gonna be with Nikita.
“But I feel like, even over the last few days, we’ve spent so much time together this week, we’re raring to go.”
Talking about the spot where they met, Williams said: “It was so beautiful, we met each other on this part of town that overlooks the whole city, but it’s really nostalgic for me, it’s where I used to go with my grandparents and just go for like cute walks when I was a kid and I’ve literally not been there since I was a kid.”
Speaking on what it was like to be partnered with Williams, Kuzmin said: “It’s like a scene out of a movie, to see the whole view… Layton just standing there.
“Me tapping on his shoulder, him turning around very surprised, hopefully positively surprised, with a big smile. It’s just honestly such a cool moment.”
Williams, who is an experienced dancer and performer, having starred in the musicals Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Billy Elliot: The Musical, said that he was “ready” for any criticism from the judges.
He said: “I’m ready. I’m an actor so part of my job is to do something and then the director to come up to me and be like ‘child you better do that better, because I wasn’t believing it.’
Everybody's talking about our next #Strictly star. Welcome actor Layton Williams! 🕺🏻
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) August 4, 2023
“So I can take a note. I would like to think, very much so, like if you’re giving me a note that is gonna make me look better, my performance better… I feel like constructive criticism is cute.”
He added: “I think I deal with pressure pretty well. I am used to doing some elements of live performance, however not to millions of people. So that’s just different.”
The same-sex dance couple follow in the footsteps of Nicola Adams and Katya Jones, who competed as Strictly’s first same-sex couple in 2020.
John Whaite and Johannes Radebe were the first male same-sex couple to perform on the show in 2021.
Strictly Come Dancing will return on Saturday September 23 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.