Five minutes with Strictly Come Dancing professional, Anton Du Beke

PUBLISHED: 16:44 05 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:42 20 February 2013

Anton and Erin

Anton and Erin

He tangoed his way into the hearts of the nation on Strictly Come Dancing and thanks in no small way to a small town in Sussex. Maheesha Kottegoda talks to Anton Du Beke about where it all started and how he ended up on the coast every other weeke...

You always seem to be knocked out Strictly Come Dancing fairly early on. Is that because you always end up with the lame duck?
That's a bit harsh. Partners are chosen by the producers of the show. Height has a lot to do with it and that is all I really know. I had a lovely time with Gillian Taylforth but that's the thing with the show - it is more difficult at the beginning. This year we had a selection of really good girls and Gillian was unlucky because she was up against them. Gillian was great and we had a lot of fun. She is a poppet.

Who do you think will win?
I like Austin Healey. I hope he wins. I think he dances well. My money is on him. I have no idea why he is doing better than the others. He has a good grasp of it and does well at ballroom. [Unfortunately Austin became the 13th celebrity to be voted off Strictly in early December.]

What do you think of the whole John Sergeant debacle?
It doesn't affect me. I don't have an opinion. I'm a pro so I wouldn't be in that position. I would have thought he would stay in until the end - that's the whole point of the show. The critics don't affect me so much. I don't think the judges were unduly harsh. They think I'm great.

Do sporting men and women make better dancers?
They make better trainers. They train so well but they are not necessarily easier to teach. They all seem to do well because they have a unison with coaching and rehearsing is already in their body.

Do you think better looking people are more successful?
I am terribly handsome and it hasn't helped. I don't think it makes any difference.

Where did it all start for you?
I was 14 and my sister was going to a dance class. I went with her and loved it and when I walked into the studio it was full of girls. I enjoyed the process and understanding the techniques of dancing with a partner. It was just something I stumbled upon.

Have you been to Sussex before?
My old teachers Bill and Sylvia Mitchell lived in Rottingdean where I used to train at the beginning of my competitive career. I used to spend a lot of time in Sussex. I used to go there every other weekend for lessons so you could say Sussex has added to the dancing in me.

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