When North West Tonight’s weatherman Owain Wyn Evans decided to film himself performing a drumming solo to the BBC News theme tune at home last April, it wasn’t something he expected to quite have the reaction it did.

Filmed in half an hour in-between his weather presenting slots, the video went viral.

Within hours, Owain’s Twitter feed was blowing up with messages from people in America, Australia and the Middle East.

An overwhelming majority of responses to Owain’s video were positive but, as is the case with many things these days, there were also the occasional homophobic remark.

“I had a wonderful childhood and I wouldn’t wish it to be any different,” Owain told the Manchester Evening News.

“Despite that, there was always a feeling of not belonging. We were a very working class family in an ex-industrial area.

"There was definitely a feeling that I was literally the only gay in the village.

“A lot of the men in my family were mechanics so I was always around cars and motorbikes.

"Without wanting to apply a stereotype, it was quite a masculine kind of environment.

“My childhood was quite polarising in that I would be riding a motorbike around my friend’s farm and then putting on shows where I would be incessantly singing along to the entire soundtrack of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat.”

Owain says that when he first started drumming at the age of 15, it gave him a way of concealing his sexuality.

“I was in lots of bands at school and the better I got, the more people wanted me to be in their bands,” he explains.

“I was quite camp at school, I was often called gay, so I used the drumming as a heat deflector.

"It was a ‘oh, I’m not gay, whatever, look how I can smash these drums to Bon Jovi’ kind of thing.

“I do find that quite embarrassing sometimes, to be honest. Why should I have had to apply a more masculine veneer to myself in order to guard myself?”

Owain began drumming at the age of 15

It was around the same time that Queer As Folk began airing on Channel 4. For Owain, like many other LGBT+ people at the time, the Russell T Davies show was a revelation.

“I remember sneaking downstairs to watch Queer As Folk on the lowest volume,” Owain says.

“I wasn’t out at the time and I just remember watching it and thinking ‘oh my god, what is this magical Manchester place’.

“This was when we still only really had four channels on the TV and the only gay people I had seen on TV were caricatures or people being made fun of.

“It was completely alien to me to see people living their best lives as gay men.

"I think that show is responsible for providing so many people with a sense of belonging for the first time.”

Viewers have praised Owain for his often humorous outlook on BBC North West Tonight

Not long after this, at the age of 17, Owain came out and told those closest to him that he was gay.

“I came out to my friends and some members of my family, like my parents, brother, and cousins,” he explains.

“Some of them didn’t really know how to deal with it because there hadn’t been much mainstream representation around at the time.

“But there weren’t any members of my family who disowned me or who couldn’t get over that struggle - my parents were willing to learn and accept who I was.

“I feel very lucky that I was accepted because I know it’s not the same for a lot of people.”

After he left school, Owain spent a year at college studying lighting design at college before deciding to take a year out in order to refine his music skills with the intention of going into percussion drumming professionally.

To make money during this time, he began applying for jobs. That’s when he landed an audition at BBC Wales to be part of the children’s news programme Ffeil.

“I was invited to do a screen test and I honestly had no clue what a screen test was,” Owain recalls.

Owain landed his first role in TV at the age of 18

“I had to read links from an autocue and I really didn’t think the audition went well at all - I knocked a bottle of water over by accident and swore in response.

“I left it feeling deflated but I think the act of tipping the water over and swearing made me relax because I just felt there was no way I was going to end up getting the job.

“Half an hour later, I got the call to say I’d got it.”

While landing the presenting gig was a massive deal for Owain, he says it also came with the realisation that he hadn’t quite got over those feelings of gay shame.

“Getting the show made me feel like I had to go back into the closet in a way,” he details.

Owain's drumming videos have gone viral and been seen by millions around the world

“I never spoke about my sexuality at work and it became a secret that I suppressed.

“But, once again, it was never because any of the people I worked with made me feel that way.

"It was because I felt ashamed and was worried what people would think of me.”

Thankfully, Owain was able to eventually shake off these feelings - he says by being around supportive people in a welcoming environment - and learnt to be proud of who he is.

It’s led to an impressive career in a short space of time.

Having moved into weather presenting after studying meteorology with the Open University, he landed a role at BBC Wales Today in 2012.

Just three years later moved to Leeds to join BBC Look North.

In 2019, two years after marrying his long-term partner Arran, he moved to Manchester after becoming the lead weather presenter for BBC North West Tonight.

Owain Wyn Evans on BBC North West Tonight

He also does occasional news segments for the programme, including one to coincide with last month's LGBT+ History Month where he looked at other people’s coming out stories.

“I would never have thought that I'd one day be sitting on a sofa on BBC One being able to share these stories,” Owain says.

“I’ve spoken to someone in rural Cumbria about her experience growing up as a trans woman, I talked to a Punjabi drag queen in Manchester and discussed faith and sexuality with a member of an LGBT-friendly church in Blackpool.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I was very honoured to be able to share these stories as part of North West Tonight’s contribution towards LGBT+ History Month.”

“What i love about my job is that I am able to be myself on screen,” Owain adds.

“I don’t go out there deliberately to be unashamedly queer but I also don’t ever feel the need to hold back now either.

“I do get the odd occasional homophobic messages from people for that but I don’t think you can’t really escape those elements of society.

"It’s unfortunately a reality that comes with being on TV or radio.

“I am very much who I am and I often think to myself how it’s amazing that I’m doing what I’m doing because I never had that kind of representation when I was younger.

“However, without generalising, queer people do tend to often feel they have to be overly grateful for what they achieve because they’re not necessarily always given the opportunities in the first place.

“Of course, I am incredibly grateful to be doing what I’m doing, I feel very lucky and fortunate, but it’s also down to the fact that I’ve worked bloody hard to get to where I am today."

You can view BBC's LGBTQ+ Life collection here.