He brings his own special brand of fun and magic to the dance floor in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing – and the fans’ favourite Anton Du Beke, who has been in the original line-up of the show’s professional dancers since the series started in 2004 – will be back when the series returns later this year.
Anton says, ‘I have such a wonderful feeling of pride that I’ve been on Strictly since the beginning with Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Tess Daly.
‘I still have such a great enthusiasm for it. I absolutely love Strictly. For me, every year is a new show, a new partner and a new experience. I never want
Often playing it for laughs with comedic pairings, Anton was in touching distance of the glitterball trophy last year when he reached the final with his partner, EastEnders actress Emma Barton.
‘It was a draw, I heard. That’s what I tell people,’ he teases. ‘Emma and I had such a lovely time. She made my job really easy.’
And he can’t wait to get back into his dance shoes for series 18 later this year. He enthuses, ‘By the time we get round to Strictly later this year we will need it! It will be the best one ever.’
The 53-year-old star admits that the recent lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis was initially a challenge for him, but hosting an interactive online dance class every morning – Elevenses With Anton – for those who are stuck at home or self-isolating has helped him cope.
‘It’s a brilliant bit of fun getting people up and out of the chair for some gentle exercise,’ he smiles.
Today, the dancer is the most fulfilled he has ever been in his personal life, and he credits his marketing executive wife Hannah Summers, 42, who he married in 2017, and their twins, son and daughter George and Henrietta, for his happiness. He loves his family life in rural Buckinghamshire. He says, ‘In lockdown, suddenly Hannah and I are spending all our time together, and it’s been lovely. That’s why I married Hannah, because I think she’s terrific.’
He laughs at himself when he says, ‘I wasn’t massively into children before I had my own, I must admit. But now, I think I must be the most besotted dad of all time and I love every second of it. And you can see, the babies are over the moon that they’ve got Mummy and Daddy 24/7 at the moment!’
The twins celebrated their third birthday during the lockdown, on 28 March, and Anton tell us, ‘We baked fairy cakes and they opened their cards and presents, which we’d bought beforehand. And we are some of the lucky ones because we have a lovely garden for the children to play in.’
He adds, ‘None of my family have been affected by coronavirus, touch wood. But we have been doing all the right things.’
Born in Sevenoaks in Kent, Anton began dancing when he was 10. He left school at 16 to follow an amateur dancing career and specialised in ballroom.
He says, ‘I always had a dancing dream. I believe you can achieve anything if you focus on it.
‘Strictly was life-changing for me. I’d been a competitive dancer and it took my life in a completely different direction.’
He has since released an album of big-band numbers and tours the UK with his professional dance partner, Erin Boag. In 2017 he wrote his first romantic novel, One Enchanted Evening, which was a Sunday Times bestseller. Its sequel, Moonlight Over Mayfair, is now out in paperback. So what else does Anton want to do? He finishes, ‘I wish I could write two books a year!’
Anton’s book Moonlight Over Mayfair (Zaffre) is out now in paperback, eBook and audio