steps toes

Ian Watkins (Steps)

Ian Watkins (born 8 May 1976, Llwynypia, Rhondda, Wales), better known as H from Steps, is a Welsh pop singer, one of the five members of the now defunct pop group Steps. He has said that "H" stands for "hyperactive", describing his character.


Before Steps

Before joining Steps, he worked as a redcoat for Butlins holiday parks.

After Steps

After Steps split in 2001, he formed a duo with fellow ex-Steps member Claire Richards and became H & Claire. They released a few singles and then went their separate ways. Watkins then decided to take a musical theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music. He was filmed through the course and it was broadcast as a reality TV series, H-side Story, which followed him as he tries to make a new career in acting. At the end of the course Watkins passed his exam and graduated from the academy. After graduating from the academy Watkins travelled to New York to continue refining his acting skills. Following his extra tuition in New York, Watkins has successfully obtained a job on the West End, and toured the country starring in the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in Autumn 2006. In December 2006 he performed at Preston's Charter theatre in the pantomime Cinderella, as the character of Buttons. In Summer 2007 he performed in the West End version of Fame. During Christmas 2007 he will be reprising his role as Buttons in the pantomime Cinderella at the Grimsby Auditorium.

In June 2006, Watkins appeared in a special week of episodes of the BBC Radio Drama Silver Street on the BBC Asian Network. He played the character of former soldier Dave in episodes set in the Welsh countryside. In November 2006, Watkins featured on the BBC Children in Need Celebrity Scissorhands show, where Michelle cut his hair.

On March 11 2008 Watkins presented a documentary about growing up gay in Wales, shown on BBC1 Wales. Whilst filming for this Watkins interviewed Christian Voice leader Stephen Green. During the interview Green compared him to Jeffrey Dahmer.. Ian has recent starred in a production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang playing the part of the child catcher, with performances in Cardiff and Sunderland

Personal life

On 3 January 2007, Watkins came out as gay and in an interview with The Sun newspaper. He also revealed that he had been involved in a ten-year relationship with Steps' manager, Tim Byrne, though this had ended several months earlier. Prior to this, Watkins had hidden the fact he was gay from fans, although rumours were widespread. His interview was published the same day he entered the Celebrity Big Brother house.

Referring to the well-known catchphrase of Little Britain character Daffyd Thomas, he remarked,

I come from a small valley in Wales and it just wasn’t the thing to do to be gay. It's a bit of a cliché — but I was the only gay in the village.

Celebrity Big Brother 5

Watkins was the ninth housemate to enter the Celebrity Big Brother UK house on the 3 January 2007. On his audition tape for Celebrity Big Brother he referred to his former group Steps as cheesy. He said "I think people know me mostly for being in the group Steps. With cheesy dance routines and cheesy clothes. Everything about it was cheese".

He had complained to Big Brother about fellow housemate Shilpa Shetty being bullied. At times both Watkins and Shetty sat together in 'Nowhere' talking amongst themselves.

Watkins was cheered by the audience when entering the house, despite ranking 8th in Channel 4's 100 Worst Britons list (a list comprising votes from the British public.)

He finished in fourth place on Celebrity Big Brother 2007 and was the first contestant to be cheered by the awaiting crowd on exit that series. Watkins was the highest placed British contestant in the show. He was proud to hear Davina McCall announce that he entered the house "as H" and left "as Ian".


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