Sunday, April 18, 2010

'Dad wouldn't talk to me and my brother threatened to smash my face in': Britain's Got Talent star Tobias tells of family feud over his dancing
By Daily Mail Reporter

Passion: Tobias Mead's amazing performance on Britain's Got Talent last night hides a family rift where his older brothers refuse to speak to him or their parents

Britain's Got Talent's latest star dancer Tobias Mead has revealed that he was 'disowned' by his family for choosing a career in showbiz over football.

In a story that echoes the film Billy Elliot, Tobias has told how one of his brothers threatened to assault him if he ever saw him again - and his father used to taunt him and call him a 'little gay boy'.

Tobias's gymnastic and contorted dance moves wowed the judging panel as the talent show returned for a fourth series on ITV last night.

Amanda Holden went so far as to say that it was 'one of the best acts we've ever had on this show'.

But the 22-year-old, from Warminster, Wilts, said the male members of his family had not come to terms with his passion for dance.

His two older brothers Simon, 31, and 25-year-old Oliver have not spoken to him for five years, and have also cut contact with their parents - Doug and Susan, both 52 - over Tobias's career.

The moves: Tobias shows his form to crowds at Covent Garden yesterday

The dancer said the family split started when he turned his back on a promising football career - he had been selected for trials with Southampton.

He said: 'I told my dad that I was not interested and he said "Well, what else are you going to do with your life?". I told him I wanted to be a dancer and was applying for a performing arts course.

'He said dancing was gay and it was a phase I was going through.'

Tobias said he was supported by his mother and sisters Cerrian, 29, and Georgia, 21 - but it was a different story with his father and brothers.

He said: 'My brothers hated me dancing - they thought it ruined their street cred.

They had quite hard reputations in town and felt my dancing was embarrassing.

'Their mates would say "What's going on with your gay brother?" - even though I wasn't gay. At home they called me "Billy Elliot" and "twinkle toes" and said, "Stop being gay". It was horrible. Whatever I did they called me "gay" or "poof".'

In the 2000 film Billy Elliot, Jamie Bell plays a young man torn by the disintegration of his family over his love for dancing.

Tobias said oldest brother Simon had had a daughter, while Oliver was recently married - without telling the family.

He said: 'It's silly that their prejudices have torn our family apart. When my older brother's daughter was born he sent a picture to my mum with a note saying, "This is the granddaughter you will never meet". Who treats their mother like that?

'The last time I spoke to my older brother he said, "If I ever see you again I'm going to smash your face in". I haven't spoken to either since.'

Tobias said that his father had slowly come around to accepting his career as a dancer, adding: 'For a long time my dad wouldn't talk to me at all. He was desperate for me to become a footballer because he had kids young and felt he'd missed opportunities he wanted me to fulfil.'

And Doug said: 'I did disapprove of Tobias wanting to become a dancer. To say I was against it is putting it lightly. I'm not homophobic - I just wanted him to choose a career that would make him financially secure.

'But my opinion has changed. He's done really well, he's very good at what he does and we will be watching him on the show.'

Tobias began his dance career with a performing arts diploma at City of Bath college. He then won a scholarship to the Stella Mann dance school in Bedford and, after graduating last summer, was selected to support Take That on their Circus tour.

He said he was inspired by his grandmother, who died of breast cancer eight years ago. He said: 'I was very close to my gran and I would talk to her about dancing - I hope she would be proud of me if she could see me now.

'When she died it hit my mum very hard. But seeing me on Britain's Got Talent has made her proud and it feels like I've got my mum back. If nothing else comes of this then it's worth it to make my mum happy.'

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