Michelle Collins supports Strictlys Layton Williams after sparking backlash

Strictly’s Layton Williams addresses ‘unfair’ trained dancer backlash

EastEnders star Michelle Collins, 61, has seemingly had a change of heart about Layton Williams being on Strictly Come Dancing.

The actress sent her support to the theatre star on Tuesday after he hit back at trolls who had sent him negative messages online.

Alongside two behind-the-scenes pictures of him on the show, Layton, 29, wrote: “Instead of coming at me with hateful comments, use your energy to shower your fave celeb with love instead.

“Pretty sure it will make us all feel much better! #ChooseJoy x.”

Michelle shared his post on her page, writing: “People don’t hate you Layton they are just in awe of your talent and you are just the most phenomenal dancer you are actually as good as the professionals.

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“Met one on #loose-ends a few years back you were lovely. Keep entertaining! X.”

The EastEnders actress was previously slammed for claiming having Layton on the show was “unfair” due to his previous dance experience.

After he and professional dance partner Nikita Kuzmin topped the leaderboard for the first time earlier this month, she commented: “Sorry but he is a professional dancer it’s not fair! I love him but he’s great already.”

Some Instagram users were quick to disagree with the actress, as one wrote: “It would be boring with all Les Dennis’… Yeah he’s from a dancing background however has had to learn a new way of dancing.”

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A second added: “Did you comment on the other ones with dance experience Michelle? Nah, didn’t think so.”

A third typed: “That’s what’s irritating me. I think some people are just looking for reasons to have a go at Layton.”

“So is Nigel Harman. And others in the past like Denise van Outen. But ballroom is different. My friend is an MT dancer and has struggled to learn ballroom as its so different. Obviously, musicality and performance skills are transferable but we can see that with every actor who does Strictly,” a fourth commented.

Layton has been performing in the West End for over 16 years, starring in shows such as Billy Elliot the Musical, Hairspray, Rent, and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and he has also trained in jazz, tap, and ballet.

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But previously discussing his dance experience, he said he couldn’t “stress enough” how different Ballroom and Latin is.

He told press: “It’s like a plumber trying to be an electrician. I don’t even know what them two things are, but it’s just not the same.”

Layton has had consecutive high scores and mostly comments of praise from the judges since the beginning of the competition.

Last week, they topped the leaderboard again following their impressive Salsa routine to Quimbara by Johnny Pacheco and Celia Cruz.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday at 6.40pm on BBC One.

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