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Ian Watkins (born 8 May 1976), better known as his stage name H, is a Welsh Pop singer. He was one of the five members of the British pop group Steps. He has said that "H" stands for "hyperactive", describing his character.


Before Steps

Ian attended Treorchy Comprehensive School, and first appeared on stage with Frank Vickery productions, he then spent his teenage years with Spotlight Theatre Company. He still remains friends with many of the current members and is president of the company.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 Musicmarker. Whilst taking the course he also appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour 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. After graduating from the academy Watkins travelled to New Yorkmarker to continue refining his acting skills. Following his extra tuition in New York, Watkins performed at Prestonmarker'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 Auditoriummarker.

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.

Celebrity Big Brother 5

Watkins was the ninth housemate to enter the Celebrity Big Brothermarker house on 3 January 2007.He had complained to Big Brother about fellow housemate Shilpa Shetty being bullied. At times both Watkins and Shetty sat together 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".

After Celebrity Big Brother

In April 2007 Watkins starred as the 'hidden' celebrity in an episode of the CBBC show Hider in the House.

On 11 March 2008 Watkins presented a documentary about growing up gay in Wales, shown on BBC Wales.Whilst filming for this Watkins interviewed Christian Voice leader Stephen Green. During the interview Green compared him to Jeffrey Dahmer.. Watkins starred in a production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang playing the part of the child catcher, with performances in Cardiffmarker and Sunderlandmarker. before touring with Frank Vickerys Erogenous Zones playing Michael.

Ian has recently announced he will be playing the role of 'Silly Billy' in pantomime Jack & The Beanstalk at the Southport Theatremarker from December 10 2009 to January 3 2010.

Personal life

On 3 January 2007, Watkins came out as gay, 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 a few 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".

In September 2009, his name was part of an 'H from Steps Is Dead' internet phenomenon, when an photo image of a stone fire hydrant sign in front of a stone grid, both with the 'H' water symbol embossed, which looked like a gravestone and tombmarker, was posted on several internet forums.


  1. The Sun: Latest news from the Celebrity Big Brother House
  2. YouTube - Broadcast Yourself
  3. Showbiz - News - Gay Steps star compared to serial killer - Digital Spy
  4. Emma Cox, 'I was only gay in the village', The Sun, 3 January 2007
  5. H from Steps is dead, FHM, accessed 21/09/2009

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