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BBC star fights back tears praising Layton Williams’ Strictly stint after having to ‘hide’ sexuality-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

‘I grew up having to hide.’

BBC star fights back tears praising Layton Williams’ Strictly stint after having to ‘hide’ sexuality-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

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Saturday Kitchen guest star Paul A Young was left fighting back tears as he opened up about having to ‘hide’ his sexuality in the past.

The chocolatier, who regularly appears on the BBC programme, joined Strictly Come Dancing star Layton Williams and host Matt Tebbutt for a special Pride month episode.

Admitting he was a ‘superfan’ of Layton, Paul began: ‘When you were dancing on Strictly I held my breath every time.

‘It was how you crossed all the boundaries of what you wore, how you delivered yourself, male, female, non-binary.’

Pausing as he choked up, Paul added: ‘That for me was a first, because you just showed how we can all express ourselves and not feel uncomfortable.’

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Layton replied: ‘It was one of those situations where I knew that if I had the opportunity I could go out there and millions of people at one point are going to be watching, and why can’t I throw on a cheeky wig and act like a vampire? It’s Halloween!

‘And why can’t I throw on this afro and just have fun? You can be masculine, you can be feminine, there is loads of different ways to be you.’

‘I think I grew up having to hide,’ Paul heartbreakingly said.

Layton Williams spoke about expressing himself on Strictly on Saturday Kitchen (Picture: BBC)

Paul A Young choked up talking about having to ‘hide’ growing up (Picture: BBC)

Recalling his experience working in a ‘brutal’ restaurant with host Matt Tebbutt, Paul went on: ‘I felt included, when I was a chef in the North I felt a little bit scared to be in that environment.

‘It’s a brutal environment, it’s a masculine environment, I’d hide myself, I’d try not to be too gay, but coming to London was like, wow!’

He went on: ‘It is a thing where you can feel a little bit too intimidated, back then in the 90s it was very butch, very macho, and I would hide.

‘I would dampen my gayness to fit in, that’s why when I saw you, I was like, “Oh no, we’re not doing that anymore.”’

Layton elsewhere praised his stint on Strictly with partner Nikita Kuzmin, saying: ‘I knew I wanted a guy, because quite frankly I wanted to be thrown around and wear fabulous costumes as opposed to throwing somebody else about.

Layton and Nikita made it all the way to the Strictly final (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)

‘We became best friends,’ Layton recalled (Picture: PA)

‘So I really loved that and me being partnered with Nikita was just perfect, and it didn’t necessarily have to be another gay man as well, he’s a straight man comfortable with himself, I was comfortable with myself.’

‘We just became best friends,’ he added.

Layton won the hearts of the nation, making it to the Strictly final last year with Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell, and Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola, who went on to lift the glitterball trophy.

Despite his roaring success and incredible dances, the Bad Education actor had been on the receiving end of a lot of stick, with trolls accusing him of having an ‘unfair advantage’ due to past dance experience.

However, he clapped back at haters, explaining: ‘I think people think I walk into the studio and am like, “Let’s go.” I wish we could get people in to see sometimes.’

Layton has spoken about how his Strictly stint became inspiration for people ‘to be themselves’ (Picture: Getty Images for BAFTA)

He added: ‘If people are going to expect a certain level, then let’s give them that momentum, and I feel like hopefully we’ve managed to rise to people’s expectations and then some, and really push it to a a place where actually, if that’s what you thought then we’re really going to do our best.

‘It has been hard, the pressure of feeling like you have to do well, because this is the kind of thing where no one is going hard and moaning or complaining when I’m rubbish.’

Layton continued: ‘The biggest inspiration really is people saying it’s inspiring, what we’re managing to do as a duo, and using that as ammo to be like, we deserve to be here.

‘Being here is inspiring so many people to be themselves, to not necessarily feel like they have to fit the norm and I feel really proud, that’s the biggest thing I’ll takeaway from it, not what people’s opinions are.’

‘Everything that’s come from it and the stories you get from people, it’s been the most heart-warming thing and it’s a little ripple effect of love, which I feel like in these times, people are a little bit grumpy, and I’m like, “Cheer up girl, it’s just a cheeky high kick and a flip and a lift,” just get into it. That’s my biggest achievement I think,’ he went on.

Strictly Come Dancing is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Saturday Kitchen airs at 10am on BBC One and iPlayer.

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