Anton du Beke speaks on becoming a Strictly Come Dancing judge: ‘Have time on my hands!’

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Anton du Beke, 54, has been a staple figure on Strictly Come Dancing since the show first aired over 16 years ago. In said time, the professional dancer has never claimed the title of champion and the idea of him getting his hands on the Glitterball Trophy this year were dashed on Sunday night when he and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, 58, made an early exit from the BBC competition. With one of the judges missing from the panel this season, the dancing stalwart has recently given thought to the rumours he could be critiquing his fellow co-stars.

Earlier this year, it was announced Bruno Tonioli, 64, would be absent from proceedings due to his work commitments in Los Angeles and because of the travel restrictions imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus.

This has meant Craig Revel Horwood, 55, Shirley Ballas, 60, and Motsi Mabuse, 39, are the only ones marking this season’s batch of contestants on their performances.

However, following his exit from the competition in week two, fans have called for Anton to take a seat on the panel.

It seems the father-of-two has been giving the idea some serious thought as he addressed the speculation on Thursday’s edition of Channel 4 chat show, Steph’s Packed Lunch.

The Strictly stalwart said of replacing the beloved Italian: “I do seem to have a bit of time on my hands.”

“I’m not sure mid-series is the time to do it, but why not?” Anton added, voicing his caution over taking a seat on the judging panel this season.

Discussing the type of critic he would be if he replaced Bruno, the stalwart said: “I’d be kind but firm, a bit like my doctor. Kind but firm!”

Viewers will have to wait and see if the father-of-two takes on a new role, but the professional dancer has addressed losing out on victory again this year.

“We had a lovely time, Jacqui and I. We had fun every day in the studio, we had a lot of fun and I thought she did wonderfully,” he opined.

I’d be kind but firm

Anton du Beke

“Gone too soon, I would say. We would have been dancing the Paso Doble in the next week or two,” Anton confirmed.

“I think the nation should have seen that,” he continued, but unfortunately, his early exit means viewers won’t be seeing him competing anymore.

The couple performed a Samba for what would become their last routine of the season, scoring a total of 12 out of 30.

Combined with their mark of 13 from the previous week, this gave the pair a combined total of 25 out of 40, placing them at the bottom of the leaderboard.

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Anton and Jacqui went up against Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing, 31, and Karen Hauer, 38, in the dance-off, with the judges ultimately deciding to send the former couple home.

The former Home Secretary paid tribute to the stalwart, telling him: “I would like to say you have been just an absolute joy to be with.

“I am so pleased and proud to have spent this time with you,” she said as she became the first casualty of the season.

With one celebrity gone, there are still 11 famous faces battling it out to get their hands on the Glitterball Trophy next month.

This weekend sees the remaining contestants perform routines to the soundtracks of some of Hollywood’s biggest movies.

At the moment, the current favourites to win are EastEnders star Maisie Smith, 19, and singer HRVY, 21, according to the latest odds from Coral bookmakers.

The pair are neck and neck as their chances of victory stand at 2/1, with their closest competition being comedian Bill Bailey, 55, at 6/1.

“Maisie and HRVY have been linked together romantically off the dance floor and our betting suggests they will be each other’s biggest rival in the bid to lift the Glitterball Trophy this year,” spokesperson John Hill said.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday at 7:25pm on BBC One. Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays at 12:30pm on Channel 4.

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