Strictly’s Arlene Phillips slams trolls for ‘piling hate’ on pal Layton Williams

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Former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips has slammed trolls and warned them to “back off” Layton Williams. The theatre star has been receiving hateful messages on social media from viewers who believe his musical theatre experience has given him an unfair advantage in the BBC competition.

Coming to the 29-year-old Strictly finalist’s defence, Arlene, 80, said: “Unless the public gets behind Layton, he won’t win, and in many ways, I think that’s a tragedy because yes, he has danced but the force and the personality that Layton puts into it is his own.

“Don’t pick on Layton. Don’t pile on hate,” she added to The Mirror. “There is no one I can think of who comes in with an attitude as positive as Layton’s.

“Whatever he is working on, nothing gets him down. He brings joy into a room and he is a truly beautiful human being.

“He is one of my favourite all-time people, I have to tell you,” she continued. “Am I biased about Layton? Completely. I want him to win.

READ MORE Layton Williams slams ‘draining’ fans ‘dragging him down’ before Strictly final[LATEST]

“Because Layton has worked very hard for everything he has and everything he does and I can’t imagine one person I know that has worked with him who hasn’t just fallen in love with who Layton is.”

But while the former Strictly judge sang the West End star’s praises, sacked Strictly pro James Jordan, 45, sided with the criticism.

He told Hello magazine of Layton: “He’s a professional dancer and we’re watching performances that I know none of the professionals on that show could do as well as he did. How can that be?

“If he wins the show, good luck to him, but I don’t think it’s right. That’s all I’m saying, I think they’ve gone too far now. They’ve got too much dance training.”

Layton is trained in jazz, tap, and ballet but recently stressed how adapting to the dance style on the show has not been easy for him.

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He also hit back at fans who have sent him abuse across social media. Layton retweeted a post from dancer Robin Windsor, who had asked his 132,800 followers to “stop” their hatred for the star.

The 44-year-old wrote: “The poor guy sees all these comments everyone tags him in – how is that supposed to make him feel.”

In reply, the Strictly star said: “Thanks Robin. Luckily I have thick skin but it’s so draining that so called ‘Strictly fans’ go out of their way to drag me down to lift others up.

“Their fave couples would be SO embarrassed by their comments & so should they,” he continued. “They’ll never dim my shine.” (sic)

Layton will fight for the Glitterball trophy this weekend against fellow competitors Ellie Leach and Bobby Brazier. As always, however, the final result solely comes down to the public vote and not the judges.

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