Anton Du Beke interview

Neil Davey / 16 November 2015

There aren’t many people who’ve survived all 13 series of Strictly Come Dancing (in fact it’s one presenter, three judges and two dancers). One such survivor is Anton Du Beke who will be touring his new show 'Just Gotta Dance' from January 2016.



There’s a perception that Anton Du Beke hasn’t always been treated kindly by Strictly Come Dancing. Yes, he does seem to have suffered more than his fair share of “comedy” partners but, actually, he’s had his fair share of the good ones too. 

Happily, for the  current 2015 series, his partner Katie Derham is in the latter category. 

“She’s doing alright, isn’t she?” enthuses Anton. “We’re through another week, so a new week means a new dance…” He laughs. “Actually, that’s what’s difficult. You just feel like you’re getting it, then you get the show, get through it and then you start again from the beginning on Monday morning. It’s a continual cycle. But it’s a good cycle, because it means you got through.

A tough job to do 

While the judges haven’t always been kind to the pair, Anton appreciates that they’ve got a tough job to do. 

“The judges have to say something different every time, and keep it interesting for the audience, and there are so many couples and only four of them. They can’t just say ‘that wasn’t bad’ or ‘that was nice’, you need more extremes of awful and great. “I don’t mind the comments most of the time and sometimes I’m too close to really know. When I look back at [the dance] I usually think ‘oh, okay, fair enough.’ Mind you, sometimes I think ‘I didn’t really see that at the time and I don’t see it now!’” 

The occasional judge-based frustration aside, Anton is still enjoying his time on Strictly. 

It's the dancing that counts

“It’s a great bunch. I genuinely like them all and that camaraderie you see on screen is real. What a lot of people don’t realise is that, during the week, we don’t see anyone other than our partners. We’re all in the studio on Friday but we all float in and out over the day, so it’s not until Saturday when you get to see everyone and we all catch up.” 

Anton laughs. “I’m a lovely fellah, but even I get annoyed at the sound of my voice so I’m sure Katie does, which is why it’s probably quite nice for her to talk to everyone else.”

There is, Anton admits, a hint of competitiveness but it’s not the be all and end all of the show. “We’re not really gunning for the trophy,” he explains, “we’re more interested in doing the best we can. Clearly it’s not a level playing field really, so you do the best you can, and just try to be better than you were last week. It’s the dancing that counts. 

The serious business 

“There’s all the Saturday night entertainment elements, the nonsense with the VTs and the other bits, but when your music starts and you have to dance, that’s the serious business. You’re trying your hardest, you’re doing the best you can, your partner is nervous and vulnerable and it really is challenging.  

There’s entertainment, but it’s the dancing, that pure moment, that’s what makes the show so wonderful. If it didn’t have that, it would be a panto. 

“I can’t really comment on the X Factor, I don’t really watch it, but I don’t think it has the layers that Strictly has, or something like The Great British Bake Off for example, where there are people we don’t know, but we’re interested to see how they get on.” 

The precision with baking 

It’s funny that Anton should mention that other celebrated BBC show because, before he became a dancer, Anton did a number of other jobs including a stint as a baker. “I can’t cook anything and have no interest in it,” explains Anton, “but baking is a bit more scientific, there’s a precision to it. I was a baker for four or five years. I used to enjoy it, but it’s a young man’s job. 

Read our interview with Mary Berry here 

You’ve got to love early mornings to be a baker. I mean, look at Paul Hollywood. He’s only 25 but he looks terrible...” 

Anton Du Beke can be seen dancing with Katie Derham on Strictly Come Dancing every week on BBC1. He can also be seen next year in Just Gotta Dance, his new show with partner Erin Boag. For dates, details and bookings, visit www.raymondgubbay.co.uk/whats-on/anton-and-erin-just-gotta-dance

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