Friday 23 March 2018

Anton Du Beke: Katie Derham will get the full Strictly experience

Host Tess Daly, Katie Derham and her dance partner Anton Du Beke during recording for the launch for this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC/PA)
Host Tess Daly, Katie Derham and her dance partner Anton Du Beke during recording for the launch for this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing star Katie Derham had better hold on tight: Anton Du Beke is planning to give her the full "Strictly experience" - with all the tricks and slides.

The professional dancer, who has previously partnered Ann Widdecombe and Judy Murray to hilarious effect, said the 45-year-old BBC presenter was "lovely" and had an "abundance" of talent.

But he admitted he didn't yet know if they shared a sense of humour.

"Well you never know that until you get together," he explained. "She might not need to be funny, she might be able to pull off all the steps. So it might be something different this year. That would be nice, wouldn't it? Something a bit different.

"But I like doing all the other stuff, so I might just fly her in and chuck her across the floor just for the hell of it. She'll like that. It's what I call the Strictly experience."

The 49-year-old, who has been part of the professional line-up since the show's inception 13 series ago, also gave his assessment of the seven male and eight female celebrities who will be vying for this year's glitterball trophy: "The whole bunch of ladies were good... I think we might have a better crop of girls than boys."

The Strictly favourite is soon to appear on The National Lottery Stars 2015, where he will be shown presenting an award for Best Health Project to nurses who deliver the lottery-funded Hospice@Home service - and he revealed why the project was particularly close to his heart.

Du Beke's old dance teacher, who he danced with from the beginning, passed away in a hospice just before Strictly started. "He would have loved to have seen it, him and his wife," he reflected. "They died within a quite close time to each other. They would have loved to have seen the whole Strictly thing.

"He died, sadly - he became terminally ill, and went to a hospice, and I remember visiting him thinking it would be quite a sad thing, but actually it wasn't.

"The nurses there were so incredible, and provided such an incredible service, that it was somehow less sad. Because you knew they weren't sliding through their last few days in a hideous way."

Du Beke surprised the nurses at Strathcarron Hospice, who ensure that the terminally ill can spend their last few days at home.

"I walked in and they didn't know what was going on," he revealed. "They weren't quite sure why they were there. And then I walk in with the trophy, and present it to them, and it was lovely. They were really excited. They were all massive Strictly fans."

:: National Lottery Stars 2015 airs on Monday September 21 on BBC One.

Press Association

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