Anton Du Beke admits he’s territorial about Strictly while addressing his future on show

Strictly: Anton Du Beke returns to judging panel

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Anton Du Beke, 55, has insisted he doesn’t “ever see himself leaving Strictly” and that he feels “territorial” about the BBC dance competition. The King of Ballroom, who has been part of the series since its debut episode in 2004, graduated from the show’s team of professional dancers to the judging panel this year.

Although Anton has admitted that his future as a judge, after replacing show regular Bruno Tonioli, is uncertain at the moment, and he has been working on other projects alongside the series, he is adamant he won’t be moving on any time soon.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with, Anton divulged: “I don’t ever see myself leaving Strictly because I love it.

“They’d do well getting rid of me, quite frankly!” He quipped.

The Strictly judge continued: “I know people say, ‘Oh yeah of course you do’, but I genuinely love the show and I always have done.

“I feel very sort of territorial about the show, I feel very protective of the show, I really do. 

“I really do love it because it is everything that I do. 

“You know, what else am I going to do in regards to dancing on television?”

Anton added: “It’s the greatest show, as a dancer it’s your greatest dream, because before Strictly Come Dancing came on and they said, ‘If I could get you a situation where you could dance on television every weekend and do what you do, how would you feel about that?’ You’d say, ‘Brilliant!’ 


“It’s the greatest show on television and I’m honoured, really, about being a part of it, and having been a part of it for so long, and still being a part of it. 

“And I absolutely love it.

“I’m thrilled to be judging because I feel like I’ve, you know, gone on to the next level in regards to continuing my association with the show. 

“And this year feels like a new beginning, like how I felt when I first started to do it, it’s just so wonderful and I’m thrilled.”

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Addressing his other work commitments outside of the show, including publishing a new novel, We’ll Meet Again, and an upcoming pantomime debut as Buttons in Cinderella this festive season, Anton explained he’ll always work around Strictly to avoid any schedule clashes.

He revealed: “Everything I do basically is, you know, around Strictly Come Dancing and Strictly Come Dancing is at the fore and I do everything else around it.

“But it’s really my sort of, you know, my heartbeat is Strictly Come Dancing.

“And I get to do the novel coming out and going into panto in December, and in January I’m back on tour again with Erin, which we’ve been doing for about 13 or 14 years. 

“So I’m thrilled about that one as well, but it’s all sort of because of Strictly Come Dancing.”

Anton also admitted he doesn’t know whether or not Bruno is going to return to the BBC show next year, and if he will keep his seat on the panel.

The dance expert stepped into the Italian judge’s shoes for the 2021 series, as he was unable to travel back and forth to film both Strictly in the UK and Dancing With The Stars in America due to Covid restrictions.

Anton went on to say that despite the uncertainty surrounding his role, he doesn’t feel like the odd one out, as the show’s professional dancers are also usually left in limbo over whether they will return, or be given a celebrity partner, each series.

He explained: “But then there’s no guarantee on anyone is there? 

“It is a yearly thing with everybody, whether it’s the pros, whether it was the judges, every year, they, you know, they either decide to keep or refresh, I say refresh, change, whatever you want to call it. So that’s the way the show’s always been.”

Strictly Come Dancing: The Final airs at 7pm tonight on BBC One.

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