Anton du Beke is one of Strictly Come Dancing’s original dancers, having appeared in every series to date. Despite some speculation that Anton would be stepping behind the judges’ desk this series, the new dad of twins is returning to the dancefloor.
Here’s what you need to know about Anton ‘The Entertainer’ du Beke.
Who is Anton du Beke?
Born Antony Beke in Kent, 51-year-old du Beke is a Ballroom specialist. He first started dancing at the age of 14.
He shot to widespread fame in 2004 with the first series of Strictly, which saw him partnered with Lesley Garrett – finishing in third place.
Despite having been with the show from the very beginning, Anton is yet to lift the Glitterball trophy. His third place finish with Garrett was his highest so far. Over the years on Strictly Anton has had some, shall we say, memorable dance partners, famously shepherding Ann Widdecome and Judy Murray around the dancefloor among others.
Strictly has made Anton a TV favourite. He was even rumoured to be in the running for Len Goodman’s vacated spot on the judging panel before Shirley Ballas was named as the new head judge.
According to the Radio Times, Anton told Lorraine in March: “From my own personal opinion, I think it's important that they have a ballroom person on the panel. Just for balance.
“You've got Bruno and Craig from musical theatre or the commercial world, and you've got Darcey from classical ballet world, so I think they would require a ballroom person for balance.
“And also the technicalities of what we're trying to do, you spend a week trying to teach your partner how to do the technicalities of ballroom dancing, and if nobody points it out, it's important really.”
Outside of Strictly, Anton has been dancing with former fellow Strictly pro Erin Boag since 1997. They now regularly run dance tours and breaks together.
Anton announced via Twitter in March that he will be releasing a new album just in time for Christmas.
He has also recently become the father of twins – one boy and one girl – with his wife, Hannah Stephens. “Oh my! The little dancing feet have arrived. Mum and twins are perfect and dad is ridiculously excited!” Anton announced on Instagram.
Away from dance, Anton – who was a talented boxer and footballer in his youth – likes to play golf.
Favourite dance: The Foxtrot – “It’s a proper dance with proper music,” says Anton, whose idol is Fred Astaire.
Best-ever Strictly finish: Anton made it to the final with news presenter Katie Derham in 2015, coming fourth. However, his best-ever result was third place with Lesley Garrett in series one.
Worst-ever Strictly finish: Series 6 saw Anton and partner, actress Gillian Taylforth, leave in week two – in 15th place.
Former celebrity partners on Strictly: Lesley Garrett, Esther Rantzen, Patsy Palmer, Jan Ravens, Kate Garraway, Gillian Taylforth, Laila Rouass, Anne Widdecombe, Nancy Dell'Olio, Jerry Hall, Fiona Fullerton, Judy Murray, Katie Derham, Lesley Joseph
Did you know? Anton’s dad is Hungarian and his mum is Spanish.
Photo credits: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock