Anton's joy at making the Strictly final and no he's not bowing out
Poor Anton Du Beke. There he was celebrating his first ever place in the final of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend when the tabloids pitched in and suggested that he was now considering retiring because at least he’d ‘go out on a high’.
The 53-year-old pro-dancer, who has been in every series of Strictly since it started in 2004, was quick to insist that the rumour was “complete nonsense”.
However the man they call the King of Ballroom will certainly treasure his 2019 professional partnership with EastEnders actress Emma Barton. For a start it marked a change from what has become his annual appearance as partner to some of the weaker and often older dance contestants.
Some were fair to middling like Clive Conway favourite Lesley Garrett who partnered Anton in the very first season. Others were never going to win in several million years like another sometime Clive Conway speaker Ann Widdecombe who famously appeared with him in 2010. It was a pairing that sent both the viewing figures and the blood pressure of dance teachers across the nation skywards.
Last year after his almost instant exit with fashion person Susannah Constantine he must have thought his fate was cast. So imagine his delight this year when, after a tentative start, Emma Barton turned out to be a very fine dancer indeed.
They didn’t. That honour went deservedly to the superbly talented former Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher and his professional partner Oti Mabuse. But Anton and Emma were able to hold their heads high leaving the Ballroom King to describe dancing with her as “pure joy”. Frankly I can’t see Anton quitting anytime soon.