Anton Du Beke surprised by Strictly success

Anton Du Beke

Anton Du Beke

Anton Du Beke never expected 'Strictly Come Dancing' would be successful and initially predicted it would be subject to ridicule.

Anton Du Beke never expected 'Strictly Come Dancing' to be so successful.

The 44-year-old star admits he thought the programme would be ridiculed the way its predecessor 'Come Dancing' - which ran on and off between 1949 to 1998 and featured competing ballroom dancers - had been when it was first suggested in 2004.

He said: "The success of 'Strictly Come Dancing' was an enormous surprise. No one knew how popular it was going to be.

"'Come Dancing' had been ridiculed for years, so when the BBC approached the dancing business with the idea for its new show, everyone said, 'Here we go, another gag at the expense of ballroom dancing.'

"Eight years on and I think it has just had the best viewing figures ever, near 12 million. All the bosses at the BBC are sitting in their offices thinking, 'This turned out rather well'."

However, Anton - who danced with former politician Ann Widdecombe in the most recent series of 'Strictly' - and his professional partner Erin Boag agreed to join the programme after realising how seriously BBC chiefs were taking it.

He added to the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "Erin and I got involved because we didn't want to be on the outside wondering what was going on, and we realised after the first meeting that they were serious about it and it was about to be one of the big Saturday night shows, with Bruce Forsyth at the helm.


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