Strictly star Layton Williams ecstatic after receiving first perfect score of 2023 series

Horwood’s ‘10’ paddle was used after stern warning from host Claudia Winkleman

Jacob Stolworthy
Sunday 03 December 2023 18:17 GMT
Strictly's Layton Williams makes history as he's awarded earliest 10 ever

Strictly viewers were left stunned as Craig Revel Horwood “finally” delivered a score of 10, resulting in the first perfect mark of the 2023 series.

Musical theatre star Layton Williams found himself in the dreaded dance off in last week’s episode, but this week, he was unanimously praised for bouncing back in an impressive manner.

Williams and his professional partner Nikita Kuzmin wowed the judges with their performance of “Backstage Romance” from Moulin Rouge! The Musical – and the pair received the highest possible score of 40 for thier efforts.

Until this stage, Horwood had been hesitant to give out scores of 10 – so much so that, ahead of the judges’s scores being announced, the show’s co-host Claudia Winkleman said: “Good Luck, and I think from all of us, we’re saying ‘Craig, sort it out.’”

Following this, Horwood gave Williams a 10, with his three fellow judges following suit, leading to a rapturous response from the studio audience as well as Williams and Kuzmin.

Co-host Tess Daly then told Horwood: ‘On behalf of a nation, Craig, thank you for finally getting your ‘10’ back out. We love you for that.”

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin received first perfect score of ‘Strictly’ 2023 (BBC)

Williams recently responded to complaints coming from viewers about his professional level of dance experience.

It has been suggested that Williams, who is competing in this year’s instalment of the BBC dancing competition, has an unfair advantage due to his prior musical theatre experience.

The Everyone’s Talking About Jamie actor has responded to the complaints about his prior dancing experience in an interview for The Guardian, saying that rehearsals are not as easy for him as it might seem.

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“I’ve taken it on the chin; I get what everyone’s saying,” he said of the criticism.

“But if you could be a fly on the wall in this rehearsal room, it’s not easy for me.”

‘Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood ‘finally’ awarded score of 10 (BBC)

Williams, who is partnered with Strictly professional dancer Nikita Kuzmin, said that his dance partner’s choreography is challenging and that he suspects judges might score him with his musical theatre background in mind.

“I’m not sad about that – I want to rise to the challenge,” Williams said.

Elsewhere in the latest episode of Strictly, Nigel Harman explained why he had to quit the show hours before it was due to be broadcast.

It was announced by the BBC that the Casualty actor, 50, had been forced to withdraw from the dancing competition due to an injury sustained in rehearsals.

At the beginning of the show, Daly and Winkleman addressed Harman’s departure – and revealed what his exit means for this week’s results.

Find the status of this week’s leaderboard here.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC one at 7.20pm on Sunday (3 December).

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