Anton du Beke has thanked Strictly bosses for granting his showbiz wish to become a judge on the hit show.
Speaking for the first time about his new temporary role, the star said: ‘Thank goodness they gave me that job. My ego was around my ankles after getting booted off first this year.’
The ballroom dancer revealed how his wife Hannah burst into tears when he got off the phone to the show’s bosses earlier this month after being told that he would be joining the panel after competing on the show for 16 years. He is replacing Motsi Mabuse, who is in quarantine for two weeks after flying to Germany for a family issue.
‘It came out of the blue,’ said Anton. ‘We heard Motsi had to go back to Germany and I didn’t know what they were going to do. Then, last Thursday, I got a phone call when they asked me to do it. I was so, so happy.
Anton du Beke has thanked Strictly bosses for granting his showbiz wish to become a judge on the hit show
Speaking about his new temporary role, the star said: ‘Thank goodness they gave me that job. My ego was around my ankles after getting booted off first this year.’
‘I love the show. I love everything about it, so to finally get a chance to judge it was incredible. My wife cried when I told her but I also thought that it would give me something to do for the rest of the series.
‘When you’re voted off at the beginning you have nothing to do. It’s easy not to feel part of the show because you’re sitting in the audience watching everyone else dance. So thank goodness they gave me the judging job.’
Anton’s three-year-old twins George and Henrietta were also delighted. ‘My children say Daddy either dances or talks on the television, so they saw me talk last weekend and this one,’ said Du Beke.
Anton celebrated his new role by asking his tailor to make him a midnight blue velvet jacket, which he wore for the first time last night.
Anton left the contest first this year with his Strictly dance partner Jacqui Smith
‘It was a bit of a treat,’ he revealed. ‘I hope it shows up OK on the television… that it doesn’t look too black.’
His role alongside Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood on the panel means he has to mark his fellow professional dancers and their partners. Does he have favourites? ‘No, I don’t. And I don’t actually have to judge the pros, it’s the celebs. And now I’m not allowed to say which of them I think will win.’
Last weekend, he delighted contestants with his positive comments, prompting fears he could be too kind. ‘I want people to feel good about themselves,’ he explained.
Anton’s three-year-old twins George and Henrietta were also said to be delighted about his new role on the judging panel
Anton, who is one of only three stars of Strictly to appear on the show since it began in 2004, along with host Tess Daly and Revel Horwood, is known to be the pro who often gets paired with the less able celebrities.
This year, he was booted off with former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith after two weeks. He has previously been partnered with Ann Widdecombe.
Asked about his experience dancing with the former Tory Cabinet Minister in 2010 when the public voted for them to stay, despite criticism of Widdecombe’s performances, Anton replied: ‘Well, we are still friends. She texts me each year and says, “I’m voting for you, Anton.”
‘She texted me this series too. I want to give every woman I have danced with a different experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.’
Dance off the pounds? I wish, laughs Caroline
Female celebrities provided some girl power on the Strictly dancefloor last night, with EastEnders actress Maisie Smith brightening things up in this colourful skimpy number.
She and dance partner Gorka Marquez did the Salsa to Better When I’m Dancin’ by Meghan Trainor as the competition heated up to mark its halfway stage.
Good Morning Britain’s Ranvir Singh, 43, who has impressed the judges despite having no dancing experience – not to mention holding down a full-time job on the ITV breakfast programme on top of her Strictly training – gave a sultry performance of the Argentine Tango to When Doves Cry by Prince with Giovanni Pernice.
EastEnders actress Maisie Smith brightened things up in this colourful skimpy number (left) and Men Behaving Badly’s Caroline Quentin, 60, impressed with her Cha Cha Cha to Rescue Me by Fontella Bass alongside Johannes Radebe
And finally, Men Behaving Badly’s Caroline Quentin, 60, impressed with her Cha Cha Cha to Rescue Me by Fontella Bass alongside Johannes Radebe.
Speaking of her experience on Strictly, the actress confided to The Mail on Sunday that unlike many previous women contestants who have boasted of their weight loss because of the dance show’s demands, she has barely lost an inch.
She said: ‘All of these people say they lost so much weight but I’ve lost about a pound and a half.’
Ms Quentin also said that her training as a ballerina was not at all helpful to her on Strictly – in fact, it was something of a hindrance.
‘Everything I was taught then, I had to do the opposite on Strictly,’ she added.