Layton Williams: 'Snog Marry Avoid was ridiculously bad TV'

Interview Hannah J Davies
·4-min read

The last show you loved

Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood on Netflix. My boyfriend and I binged it during lockdown. It’s very glam and inspirational – it’s all about chasing the stars and reaching for that moment – as well as being camp and fun. I like that it’s partly based on true events; there’s this scene where a black woman [Laura Harrier’s Camille Washington, who was inspired by Dorothy Dandridge, the first black woman to be nominated for the best actress Oscar] is nominated for an Oscar and says to security: “You’re gonna have to pull me away kicking and screaming if you don’t think I’m walking into this event.” I was like: ‘Yeah, get it girl!’

The show that should never have been cancelled …

I’m biased, but I think Beautiful People, a show that I was in [on BBC Two], should never have been cancelled – and I should have my own smash-hit spin-off off with Olivia Colman.

… and the show that should be cancelled

It’s not on any more, but the programme that really got on my nerves was [the BBC Three makeover show] Snog Marry Avoid. Surely what we want to celebrate in this world is people just being themselves, but then you have this show where loads of people judge you just by the way you look – and then change you into some person that you don’t even want to be. I thought it was the most ridiculous show ever. If I was walking down the street, people might want to avoid me. But guess what? You would be wanting to snog me and you would most definitely be wanting to marry me.

Your TV guilty pleasure

I don’t ever get guilty about nothing, but probably Glee – I was a huge fan back in the day and still am. As some of the cast have passed away now, it’s even more emotional. I guess it’s a guilty pleasure for Joe Bloggs, but in in my industry is not.

Your favourite show when you were 10

[The cartoon series] The Powerpuff Girls and Kim Possible. I just love a fierce girl or woman doing their thing, like girl power – very Spice Girls. I was doing a show in London, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and one of the actors from The Powerpuff Girls came to the stage door – I was so happy to meet her.

‘Beautiful and moving’ ... Indya Moore as Angel in Pose.
‘Beautiful and moving’ ... Indya Moore as Angel in Pose. Photograph: Pari Dukovic/BBC/FX

The show you wish you could guest star on

I would love to be in Ryan Murphy’s Pose. I think it’s such an incredible representation of the trans community and of black queer people. To see so many people like yourself on screen for the first time, and not just playing the extra, is amazing. It centres around ballroom culture and it’s just really beautiful, moving and funny, and educational for people who don’t know about it all. None of the trans actors have been nominated for Emmys yet; it would just be nice to see a trans person snatch a trophy, because that’s what the show is ultimately about.

The best TV villain of all time

I watched American Horror Story, another Ryan Murphy series, behind a cushion – I don’t know why I watch horrors, because I basically don’t watch them. I had nightmares about Madame Delphine [in the Coven series], who slaughters her slaves and black people. She was played by Kathy Bates, who is obviously incredible. She is stuck in my mind forevermore as the freakiest and craziest of fictional characters.

The last show that made you cry

Probably Queer Eye. Every time I watch it, I’m in floods of tears. I just love a full life re-up, a transformation. They make them feel comfortable in their skin and help them put their best foot forward with the fashion. The house always gets me, because imagine walking into your house and it’s changed into something you could only have imagined. If I ever need a good cry, I pop an episode on. When I was at home in Bury, where I’m from, I got in a taxi and Tan’s cousin was the driver. He said he taught him how to do the French tuck – he’s the missing sixth member of the group.

Layton Williams headlines West End Musical Drive In, London, on 29 August