Bury’s Layton Williams says he hopes to be “the people's cheerleader” as he prepares to appear on the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The 28-year-old Bad Education star will take to the floor for the 21st series of the nation's favourite dancing competition.

Layton, who has appeared in hit West End shows including Billy Elliot and Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, has described himself as a perfectionist and says he hopes the show will be a challenge.

He will join fellow Bury-born performer, former Coronation Street actress Ellie Leach, on the dance floor for the series, launching on BBC 1 tonight.

Bury Times: Layton Williams says dance is a passion ahead of Strictly Come Dancing Layton Williams says dance is a passion ahead of Strictly Come Dancing (Image: BBC)

The actor said he was inspired by the show’s first deaf contestant and winner, Rose Ayling-Ellis and last year’s victor Hamza Yassin who won the coveted Glitterball with no dancing experience.

He said: “When the music stopped during Rose and Giovanni’s performance that brought me to tears. Moments like that are just so powerful.

“Things can shake the nation, beautiful. Hamza, to come from no dance experience and to go and win, I was just so impressed. Unreal.

"You just don't know who is going to do that from this year and I’m really ready to be people's cheerleader as well. I can really get people going, if they’re nervous or anything.

“I want to be I want to be that person that keeps everyone positive... I like to say ‘choose joy!’.

Layton, who also runs his own performing arts company, Pros from the Shows, says he has some dancing experience and would love to explore the world of Latin and ballroom.

He said: “I trained in jazz, tap and ballet to a certain degree. I'm absolutely not a ballet dancer, but I've done shows that I’ve had to play characters that are.

Bury Times: Fellow contestant and actress Ellie LeachFellow contestant and actress Ellie Leach (Image: BBC)

“I did work for Matthew Bourne’s company a good few years ago. So dance is in me, it's a core feeling and I love it and it’s my passion. But this world of Latin and ballroom is completely new to me, so that's what I'm excited to explore.”

Looking ahead, he says his biggest competition is himself, adding: “I'm a perfectionist. I know it's a competition, I'm in my lane and everyone else is doing their own journey.

“So as long as I'm proud of what I've done, and I've made my pro, family and friends proud, that’s all that matters. I want to go out with dignity.”