Dan Walker has claimed Layton Williams was “never going to win” Strictly Come Dancing 2023. The presenter, who took part in the BBC show in 2021, claimed the actor’s “ridiculously good” skills on entering the competition had “annoyed” some viewers.
Last night’s finale saw the public crown Ellie Leach and her professional partner Vito Coppola the winners. Speaking out in a new column today, the 46-year-old journalist remarked on how many felt the 29-year-old was already a professional dancer.
The aforementioned reasons he believes cost the Bad Education star the win, despite the judges’ scores putting him at the top of the leaderboard. He, Ellie, 22, and Bobby Brazier, 20, all performed three routines in the last instalment before the viewers’ votes were counted.
Dan stated in his piece for inews: “Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin have been brilliant from day one but, in many ways, that is why they were never going to win. His skill level is ridiculously good – probably better than anyone who has ever been on the show before.”
The father-of-three continued: “I know that has annoyed some viewers who consider him to be a professional dancer, but I always think there should be room for people who are starting from scratch, those who know what they are doing and everyone in-between.” Layton is best known for playing the role of Stephen Carmichael in the television series Bad Education as well as his work in the West End.
One of his first jobs was playing the title role in Billy Elliot The Musical aged just 12, after training at the Billy Elliot Academy in Leeds.
Dan went on to say it was in fact Bobby and pro partner Dianne Buswell that “shone” for him on the night.
He said Jade Goody’s son “has a real superstar feel to him and I’m sure he’s going to go on to be hugely successful in whatever he turns his hand to next”.
But he deemed Ellie and Vito “worthy winners”, saying their routines always put a smile on his face.
Dan’s fellow presenter Vanessa Feltz agreed with his statement in regards to Layton’s chance of winning, with the performer dropping just one point across a trio of dances.
The 61-year-old wrote in her column for Express.co.uk: “We all knew Layton was too talented, smooth, polished and professional to be permitted to lift the Glitterball.
“The audience’s desire for a ‘Strictly journey’ is insatiable and he was simply too brilliant on day one.”
Layton’s very first turn on the dancefloor – a Samba to Touch by Little Mix – saw him come joint second on the leaderboard alongside Amanda Abbington and behind Nigel Harman.