'H' from Steps

Ian "H" Watkins
Ian Watkins 2012.jpg
Watkins performing at the Manchester Apollo in 2012
Born
Ian Watkins

(1976-05-08) 8 May 1976 (age 46)
Occupation
  • Singer
  • actor
Musical career
GenresPop
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1997–present
Labels

Ian Watkins (born 8 May 1976), known professionally as H, is a Welsh singer and actor. He is known as a member of the British pop group Steps. In 2020, he competed in the twelfth series of Dancing on Ice.

Career[]

Steps[]

In May 1997, Watkins became a member of the British pop group Steps. Steps achieved a series of charting singles between 1997 and 2001 including two number-one singles in the UK, two number-one albums in the UK, 14 consecutive top 5 singles in the UK and a string of hits throughout Europe. The group has sold over 20 million records worldwide in addition to acquiring a BRIT Award nomination in 1999.

Steps reformed in May 2011 for a four-part documentary series on Sky Living titled Steps: Reunion. The series started airing on 28 September, following an announcement of a second greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection, that was released on 10 October 2011. The album entered the charts at number one, becoming the band's third album to achieve this feat. The second series of Steps: Reunion titled "Steps: On the Road Again" aired on Sky Living in April 2012; the series followed the band as they embarked on their sellout 22-date UK tour. On 24 September 2012, the group confirmed they would release their fourth studio album Light Up The World on 12 November 2012, alongside a six-date Christmas tour, starting from 30 November and ending on 5 December.[1] The group reformed for a second time on 1 January 2017 in celebration of their 20th anniversary, and later announced their fifth studio album Tears on the Dancefloor, which was released in April 2017 and entered the charts at number 2.[2] On 5 March 2017, the group confirmed the release of the new album, alongside its lead single, "Scared of the Dark", and a 22-date tour, Party on the Dancefloor.[3] A deluxe ion of the album, titled Tears on the Dancefloor: Crying at the Disco, was released on 27 October.[4]

In November 2017, Faye Tozer announced that the reunion was no longer just a 20th-anniversary celebration and that the group intends to continue after their 2018 Summer of Steps tour.[5] In April 2018, Richards announced that following their summer tour, they would begin work on their sixth studio album.[6] In February 2019, Richards announced the group would begin recording their next album during the summer months.[7]

On 7 September 2020, via their social media accounts, Steps announced the release date of their album entitled What the Future Holds. The album was released on 27 November of the same year, with pre-orders available from 8 September.[8] The next day, they confirmed a new 14-date UK tour (with special guest Sophie Ellis-Bextor) starting in November 2021.[9] The first single from the album was "What the Future Holds", written by Greg Kurstin and Sia and released on 9 September 2020. It was followed by "Something in Your Eyes" on 27 October 2020. "To the Beat of My Heart" was released as the album's third single in January 2021.[10]

The first single of What the Future Holds Pt. 2 was confirmed as a reworked version of "Heartbreak in This City" featuring Michelle Visage.[11][12]

H & Claire[]

After Steps split in 2001, Watkins formed a duo, H & Claire, with fellow ex-Steps member Claire Richards. They released three singles and an album.

Musical theatre[]

After departing from H & Claire, he then decided to take a musical theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music. Whilst taking the course he also appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and was filmed for a reality TV series, H-side Story, which followed him as he tried to make a new career in acting.[13] Watkins 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 reprised his role as Buttons in the pantomime Cinderella at the Grimsby Auditorium. He also played the role of 'Silly Billy' in pantomime Jack & The Beanstalk at the Southport Theatre from 10 December 2009 to 3 January 2010. Christmas 2010 saw his return to Grimsby as he performed in the pantomime Beauty and the Beast, playing the part of Muddles. In 2013, Watkins announced that he was returning to his role as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in June on the UK National Tour. The following year he played Prince Charming in the panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone.[14]

Television[]

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. Watkins was the ninth housemate to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house on 3 January 2007.[15] He finished in fourth place. In April 2007, Watkins starred as the hidden celebrity in an episode of the CBBC series Hider in the House. On 11 March 2008, Watkins presented a documentary about growing up gay in Wales, shown on BBC Wales.[16] Whilst filming for this, Watkins interviewed Christian Voice leader Stephen Green. During the interview Green compared him to Jeffrey Dahmer.[17][18]

In December 2008, Watkins was a contestant in Bargain Hunt Famous Finds and partnered with Connie Fisher. Watkins appeared on Skins, episode 2 of series 4.[19] He also appeared in the Living TV series Party Wars in 2010.[20] In February 2013, Watkins was a contestant in the celebrity special of the ITV quiz show The Chase along with three other celebrities. In 2014, he appeared as one of the celebrities challenged to learn Welsh in a week on the S4C series Cariad@Iaith.[21]

In 2020, Watkins competed in the twelfth series of the ITV series Dancing on Ice.[22] He was the first celebrity in the history of the series to compete within a same sex couple, with professional partner Matt Evers.[23]

Steps reunion[]

In 2009, Lee Latchford-Evans hinted that a future reunion was possible, but that "it isn't the right time right now".[24] In 2011, it was announced that Steps would be reuniting for a four-part Sky Living documentary, depicting their split and the intermittent years. The band would also release their Ultimate Collection, as well as potential new material.[25]

In an interview with Digital Spy on 20 September 2011, Steps said that they believe there may still be a gap in the market for their brand of "happy pop". Scott-Lee said: "Times have changed, but we are in a recession and Steps' music was very light-hearted and fun, so there could be a place for that in today's society ... What else is interesting is that there aren't any boy/girl pop groups out there at the moment".[26]

Personal life[]

On 3 January 2007, Watkins came out as gay in an interview with The Sun newspaper.[27] His interview was published the same day he entered the Celebrity Big Brother house. During his tenure with Steps, Watkins was involved in a relationship with the group's manager, Tim Byrne.[27][28] Watkins was in a relationship with Craig Ryder from 2007 until November 2017.[29] On 6 March 2016, they became fathers to twin sons, Macsen and Cybi Ryder-Watkins, born via a surrogate. Watkins was named on the 2017 Pink List of leading Welsh LGBT figures.[30]

Misidentification[]

In November 2013, it was reported that Watkins had been receiving hate mail through Twitter from people confusing him with Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins, who had recently pleaded guilty to sex offences involving children.[31] H received a public apology in court from E! Entertainment Television for having used his photo to illustrate a story about the Lostprophets singer.[32] After the misidentification, H was said to be pursuing legal action after his image appeared next to stories about the other Ian Watkins' crimes through searches on Google News.[33]

Discography[]

References[]

  1. ^ "Steps head into recording studio". Ultimate Steps. 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  2. ^ Wass, Mike (2 March 2017). "Steps' Comeback LP Is Tears On The Dancefloor". Idolator. United States: Hive Media. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  3. ^ Read-Dominguez, Jennifer (6 March 2017). "Steps CONFIRM comeback with new album announcement". Digital Spy. United Kingdom: Hearst Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 March 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Tears On the Dancefloor (Crying At the Disco Deluxe Edition) by Steps on iTunes". Music.apple.com. 27 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Steps Tickets | Concert Dates & Tour". The Ticket Factory.
  6. ^ McCreesh, Louise (25 April 2018). "Claire Richards confirms new Steps album is on the way". Digital Spy. United Kingdom: Hearst Corporation. Archived from the original on 25 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Claire Richards: "I've wanted to do this album for years"". ITV. United Kingdom: ITV plc. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  8. ^ Tabberer, Jamie (8 September 2020). "Steps confirm new album What The Future Holds: 'We couldn't keep it a secret any longer'". Metro. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  9. ^ White, Jack (8 September 2020). "Steps announce new album, single and 2021 arena tour". Official Charts Company. United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  10. ^ "BBC – Radio 2 New Music Playlist Radio 2 New Music Playlist W/C 16 January 2021". Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Michelle Visage joins pop legends Steps as 'unofficial sixth member' for boptastic musical comeback". 17 February 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  12. ^ "One week to go! FIRST PLAY of #HeartbreakInThisCity with @MichelleVisage on @bbcradio2 February 25th at 7:50am then available to download/stream that morning". Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Blair branded 'worst Briton'". BBC News. 11 May 2003.
  14. ^ "From Steps, to Tumble - to Prince Charming". 17 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Celeb BB: Ian 'H' Watkins factfile". Manchester Evening News. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  16. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017.
  17. ^ Grew, Tony (14 April 2008). "Wales may get "ex-gay" ministry". Pink News. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  18. ^ Reynolds, Simon (11 March 2008). "Gay Steps star compared to serial killer". Digital Spy.
  19. ^ Dan French (26 January 2010). "Ian 'H' Watkins confirmed for 'Skins'". Digital Spy.
  20. ^ "LIVING commissions a war on parties..." Living TV. 18 August 2010.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Cariad@Iaith 2014 Celebrities Revealed retrieved 24 Apr 2017
  22. ^ Wakefield, Lily (9 October 2019). "Dancing On Ice reveals first same-sex dance partners before Strictly". Pink News. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Dancing on Ice: Steps singer Ian 'H' Watkins to be in same-sex couple". BBC. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  24. ^ Ball, David (1 April 2009). "Steps 'eyeing future reunion tour'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  25. ^ Eames, Tom (21 July 2011). "Steps to reunited for Sky Living documentary series". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  26. ^ Love, Ryan (20 September 2011). "Steps talk reunion and chart success: 'There's definitely a gap for us'". Digital Spy.
  27. ^ a b "Steps singer 'H' says he's gay". Metro. DMG Media. 3 January 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  28. ^ Grew, Tony (2 January 2012). "Steps star comes out before entering Celeb Big Brother". pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  29. ^ "Ian 'H' Watkins splits from partner". 9 November 2017.
  30. ^ "Pinc List 2017". Wales Online. 19 August 2017.
  31. ^ Steve Garner (27 November 2013). "Steps star Ian H Watkins abused by internet users who confuse him for convicted Lostprophets singer". ITV News. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  32. ^ "Steps star Ian H Watkins gets court apology over photo error". BBC News. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  33. ^ "Ian 'H' Watkins 'angry and upset' at Google News results". BBC News. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.

External links[]