Strictly’s Anton Du Beke, 55, admits ‘younger dancers with tattoos’ saw him pushed to back

Strictly: Giovanni Pernice jokes about Anton du Beke

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Anton Du Beke, 55, has been performing on Saturday night’s Strictly Come Dancing since the show’s inception in 2004. However, during his tour, the star revealed his career struggles as he got older, after being pushed to the back to accommodate dancers wearing a vest with “tattoos”.

He said: “In the early days I would be down the front. It would be nice.

“We had things called grids where people were in position on the floor and then suddenly you would go back another line.

“Then they started putting you in the corners and then the tattoos started arriving and everyone with tattoos was down the front wearing a vest.

“It got to the point where I was back here. I was so far back at the end I was chatting with Lance in the orchestra.”

“I did not mind not doing the group dances in the end.

“If I end up having to dance with somebody again, we hope not, I am going to tattoo my routine on my chest.

“It seems as if everybody is tattooed these days. If you are going to come on Strictly Come Dancing you have got to have a tattoo.”

Anton joined Strictly when the show began in 2004 and remained as a professional dancer, with some iconic moments like being partnered with Ann Widdecombe, until 2021. 

Last year, he judged the show as a permanent member of the panel for the first time, as Bruno Tonioli was unable to return to the UK due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He has now told The Mirror that he has not been given a definitive answer about returning as a judge for the show and is still waiting to find out. 

He said: “I’m hoping to get a call to say, ‘Look, here you go, come back judging please’. But we’ll wait and see. I’d like to think I’d be on the show in one way or another.”

The dancer added: “I wouldn’t like to think they’d just get rid of me altogether. That would be a bit dramatic to go from dancer to judge to off the show. The truth is I haven’t been told.”

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Strictly Come Dancing has already announced the professional dancers for the 2022 series, and Anton is missing from the list. 

During his 18 years as a professional dancer on the show, he has never won and lifted the famous Glitterball Trophy.

Current rumours claim that both Anton and Bruno could return as judges for the new series, or Anton may even host part of the show himself. Since the 2021 series, two professional dancers have left the show, 

Oti Mabuse, who has gone to present the ITV dating show Romeo and Duet, and Aljaz Skorjanec have both moved on from the show. 

Anton himself has announced he will be appearing on the ITV show Cooking with the Stars, which will air later this year.

Speaking at his An Audience With… tour, Anton added: “Most of my partners could not keep time anyway.

“I just used to let them go off and I ended up following them by the end of it.

“Sometimes on the show you get some songs and you look at the dance and you think, ‘These two don’t come together.’”

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