Layton Williams on performing Everybody's Talking About Jamie for the BBC: 'My nan will be buzzing'
The stage star will be on BBC Radio 2 this weekend
Layton Williams is one of a number of stage stars set to be broadcast across the BBC as part of the upcoming Musicals: The Greatest Show – a giant celebration of all things MT that kicks off on Sunday.
The Everybody's Talking About Jamie lead will be performing "Wall In My Head", a tender solo number from the WhatsOnStage Award-winning show – recorded especially at The London Palladium alongside a massive orchestra. From the photos (being released this weekend), it really does look sensational.
Williams, chatting over the phone earlier this week, says he had a brilliant time making it: "I don't like to get too shaken but it was bittersweet in all the best ways. I'd not sung "Wall In My Head" since the last show of Jamie in March".
It was heightened, Williams says, by a reunion with Sheridan Smith: "The BBC wanted me to do some little segues – pre-recorded with Sheridan. I love her – I met her when I was around 13, 14 when she was working on Jonathan Creek. She took me on-set just before she was in Legally Blonde, and, all these years later, she completely remembered who I was – such a mega-star isn't she."
Williams was leading the tour cast of Everybody's Talking Jamie when restrictions kicked in last March, and is gunning to get started with the show as soon as restrictions are lifted: "I keep having to change the dates in my diary – I was 23/24 when I got the tour and I'm 26 now. I love the show so much, and it was one of my dreams to take it on the open road – especially with Shane [Ritchie].
"It's amazing that we can visit places that wouldn't normally be able to see it. I'm raring to get back and bring some smiles and hope to people. Everyone needs a show like Jamie right now."
Jamie has been a big part of Williams' life for many a year: "I have been involved from the beginning – I auditioned for the show and my best friend [John McCrea] ended up playing Jamie." Both McCrea and Williams will also make appearances in the upcoming film adaptation of the show (led by newcomer Max Harwood), which is finished and currently waiting for a big-screen release.
Williams describes his experiences on set: "I just got really lucky by being able to shoot for one day – with some gorgeous choreography, knee-high boots and big heels. At that point I was the second person ever to take on that role, so it's wonderful to be part of the show's legacy forever and preserved on film. It was amazing seeing Max do his thing." The actor is, more than anything, simply excited about the prospect of Jamie's story reaching a whole new audience: "This is going to reach so many more people".
But for the time being, the BBC will be flying the Jamie flag. As Williams puts it: "My nan's going to be buzzing."
Musicals: The Greatest Show will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday and then available on BBC Sounds all year. A TV broadcast will take place on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in February.