Bury’s Layton Williams has danced his way to the top of the leaderboard on tonight’s episode of Strictly Come Dancing.

The 29-year-old Bad Education star danced the cha-cha-cha with his partner Nikita Kuzmin, earning high praise from the judges.

Layton and Nikita danced to Million Dollar Bill by Whitney Houston and earned the earliest "10" for a cha-cha-cha in the history of the show.

As the judges' scores came in, Layton praised dance partner Nikita, calling him “the best teacher and choreographer ever".

“I’m working really hard and even harder to impress", he said.

“I’m really overwhelmed.”

Bury Times: Layton and Nikita are top of the leader board after this week's episodeLayton and Nikita are top of the leader board after this week's episode (Image: BBC)

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Layton and Nikita earned very high scores from the judges, including 9s from Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke and a 10 from Motsi Mabuse.

Judge Shirley Ballas praised Layton for taking on constructive criticism received after previous dances, saying “you’re back in the game!”

Motsi said: “It was soft but strong, you listen as Shirley said and you add a whole different kind of flavour to this whole competition. I could watch you day and night, bring it on!"

Layton and Nikita are the top of the leaderboard after tonight’s episode, with a total score of 37.

Tonight’s opening performance came from another Bury-born star, ex-Coronation Street actress Ellie Leach, who danced the Samba with professional Vito Coppola to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana.

Bury Times: Ellie and Vito opened the show with a SambaEllie and Vito opened the show with a Samba (Image: BBC)

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She drew mixed comments from the judges, who critiqued her footwork but praised her energy and rhythm.

Shirley said:  “I know this dance is a personal favourite of Vito and I think you have mastered from the waist upwards your coordination, your personality, your musicality. I thought it was very good."

In his critique, Craig said: “You danced the whole thing in parallel which is a real shame."

However, he added: “It was rhythmical and you had gorgeous bounce.”

Ellie earned 7s across the board giving her a total score of 28.

As the judges scores came in, Ellie said she felt “emotional” but added: “It was great to open the show I feel excited to watch everybody else as everybody else is amazing.”

The results from the public vote from tonight’s episode will be revealed on Sunday at 9.15pm on BBC 1.