Strictly Come Dancing was back on viewers screens last week and saw a new shakeup with the judges. Former professional dancer Anton Du Beke debuted as a full time judge on the show, replacing Bruno Tonioli after the uncertainty of international travel. Anton spoke with Claudia Winkleman about how he felt on the first night of the live show.
Tonight’s the night of the first public vote for the contestants and joining Claudia on her BBC Radio 2 show was Anton and Jamie Laing.
“First week as a full-time judge, how was it? Everybody on earth thought you were brilliant, but how was it for you?” she asked.
Laughing at the compliment, he replied: “I loved it, I loved every second of it. I loved all the sitting and watching the dancers.
“Seeing what they were producing and knowing how they were feeling, I know what it was like to go first.
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“I know what it’s like when Adam Peaty came out two hours after he came down the stairs, barely remembering his own name, let alone what routine he was about to perform.
“It was brilliant, it was a great night, and I can’t wait for tonight,” he exclaimed to Claudia.
She continued: “I feel bad that on this show, we’re quietly revealing what Craig Revel Horwood is really like because he has this persona, and we’re quietly chipping away.”
A clip was played of Craig speaking about Anton’s arrival, as he said: “I’m hoping that we’ll have a bit of banter going on.
“He’s great, I mean, it’s about time, you know that he hung up his dance shoes and got on that panel with us, and I think it is a perfect scenario, I love him, I think he’s great.”
Claudia then asked Anton: “Were you nervous at all, or did you feel like you know what I’m in my element?”
“Um, well, I wasn’t massively nervous,” Anton began “I felt comfortable judging because I’m talking about something I know plenty about and having the experience of having done it for so many years.
“But it was just being able to say what I wanted to say about the dancing in a way that was useful to the couples.
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“Because you’re going to go back on Monday with your partner, and you’re going to be dancing and rehearsing for next weeks show, and you will be talking about what the judges said,” he explained.
“You will go, ‘oh, they didn’t like that, they’re gonna hate this, so we better work on that’ so, you know that’s what you hope to give someone.”
Claudia went on to speak about the contestants for this year and what Anton and Jamie thought of their skills so far this year.
“I’ve got to ask both of you, what do you think of the current batch, what do you think of the class of 21‘.”
Anton replied: “Well, I think they’re marvellous, I think this is a tremendous year, and I know we say this every year, but I genuinely think this is the vintage lot.
“I felt a bit sorry for Sara Davies last week because she danced the Cha-Cha with Aljaz, and although she came bottom of the leader board, I thought she danced really well,” he explained.
Jamie went on to say: “Adam Peaty has the most wonderful bottom, he is so good at dancing and just fantastic.”
The pair both said they had high hopes for this year’s contestants and were looking forward to what they would bring next.
Claudia Winkleman airs Saturday’s at 10am on BBC Radio 2.