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“I hated most music in the 1970s, especially disco, but Bowie was edgier.”

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Quotes by Anton du Beke

  1. ‘Strictly’ is a bit like scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final or sinking the final putt in the Ryder Cup – only a few people get the opportunity to do it, and they have got to be famous.
  2. A dancer’s career is short – you just keep going until your legs pack up.
  3. As I grew up, I wasn’t a great buyer of albums, but I really liked ‘The Jam.’ I like good musicians and loved the energy of their songs.
  4. As soon as I left school at 16, I worked in a factory making aircraft components.
  5. As soon as I started dancing at 14, I knew I was always going to be a professional dancer.
  6. At places like Chelsea, often the garden displays are so big and grand that you’d never be able to have them at home.
  7. Ballroom dancing: it’s a wonderful thing at so many levels because you’ve got to follow the rules. They used to call those rules etiquette once upon a time, but you don’t really have that any more.
  8. Ballroom is two people dancing together to music, touching in perfect harmony.
  9. Because we had no money when I was growing up, when I started dancing, I wasn’t allowed to be frivolous – my mum made me go to every lesson because she was paying for it.
  10. Because we had no other relatives living in the U.K., me, my parents and my siblings continuously journeyed abroad to bond with our extended family.
  11. Being a competitive dancer is an expensive business – you have to buy the £2,000 or so tail suit and the shoes, and then get yourself around the world to the competitions. And there is not a lot of money to be made in competing.
  12. Being fit is the easiest part of being a dance professional. I used to just throw on a backpack full of rocks and run up a hill. You don’t even have to go to a gym.
  13. Bruce Forsyth is my hero, and the thought that I’d be in a TV show with him was incredible.
  14. Frank Sinatra was a great singer, but my favourite is Sammy Davis Jr. He had incredible versatility in his voice, often doing impressions of people. It’s always going to be classic, and you’ll never get bored listening.
  15. Give up smoking. Don’t get so fat. So much illness is self-induced – which I can’t stand. And I’m not a good nursemaid. Don’t call me if you’re ill.
  16. Having been part of this wonderful show ever since series one, I know all too well what it’s like to perform to the nation on the famous ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ dancefloor.
  17. I always enjoy the process, meeting somebody new and spending time with them and becoming friends with them. That has always been the joy of ‘Strictly’ for me, so I enjoy every year.
  18. I do watch what I eat, but I don’t make it myself. When I eat out, I just have to make sure the things I buy are good and healthy.
  19. I don’t get grumpy at a ‘Strictly’ level, you understand. We’re just making a television show – the person I’m dancing with can’t dance; they’re doing their best, and we’re not going to win the World Championships.
  20. I don’t like the Samba; it’s nonsense. With a lot of these Latin dances I can’t really understand what they’re all about. I like the Rumba and the Paso Doble but the others I could take or leave.
  21. I don’t mind how good or bad my partner is, as long as we have a lovely time.
  22. I don’t profess to be Luciano Pavarotti, but I can hold a tune.
  23. I enjoy watching talented cooks bringing together ingredients into a fabulous dish.
  24. I get really very upset when I’m voted out, and I feel very disappointed.
  25. I go through money like a bloke with three arms.
  26. I got sent some cheese once. I’m not sure if that was saying something about my act, or just because I like cheese.
  27. I hated most music in the 1970s, especially disco, but Bowie was edgier.
  28. I have a magnificent chin and a long, odd-shaped face. As a result, I always look better in collars.
  29. I have no trouble with my sleep, but the amount I have varies from four to eight hours, depending on my schedule.
  30. I just get grumpy with bad behaviour.
  31. I just like to sit and admire my garden; it’s so well kept by my gardener and my girlfriend.
  32. I know what I’m good at, and if I’m asked to do something I’m not – like hip-hop dancing – I get self-conscious.
  33. I like to get up and get out. Otherwise you end up kicking about, and it’s easy to flick the telly on; then before you know it, it is 11 A.M. and you haven’t done anything.
  34. I look better with a tan, but I’ve never gone the fake route. I don’t need to – I have good foreign genes: half Spanish, half Hungarian.
  35. I remember watching the Three Tenors at the World Cup in 1990, and it was amazing. They made opera accessible to the man in the street.
  36. I think I’ve got a bit more to offer than just dancing. It might just be me that thinks that, but it’s worth saying.
  37. I think cookery shows have become so sophisticated, and everyone’s so marvellous at it, but there are people like me who aren’t into the cooking malarkey, who still don’t know how to boil an egg for three minutes.
  38. I want to do lots of exciting, varied, interesting things. That’s what I want to do.
  39. I was one of those people who just flitted about in life. I had no plans and no sense of direction.
  40. I went professional with my partner, Erin Boag, 11 years ago, and we had success competing round the world, but appearing on ‘Strictly’ has changed my life.
  41. I wish I’d become a professional dancer sooner. I did other jobs – like baking – while dancing part-time, and didn’t commit until I was 29.
  42. I work out in the gym three times a week on top of my dancing, so I have to eat a lot to keep my weight and energy up: a big breakfast, and little and often throughout the day.
  43. I worked as an interior designer. I worked as a furniture salesman. I worked as a financial adviser. I worked as a painter and decorator – that wasn’t for very long. I was a baker for about four-and-a-half years.
  44. I’d like to do a kind of ‘Sunday Night At The Palladium’-style variety show on the BBC.
  45. I’m a bit of a traditionalist; the ballroom is all about tails and I never mess about with that. But for the Latin you can have a bit fun: tight trousers, gold shirt open to my waist, be a bit ridiculous.
  46. I’m busier than ever and it’s led to new opportunities. But I’ve never worried about being rich or famous – for me, it’s all about the dancing.
  47. I’m going for Britain’s Best Dressed Man award, but strangely, I’m never on the list.
  48. I’m happy to dance with anyone, to be honest. I’ve had some great partners, who have all been talented. But not all of them at dancing.
  49. I’ve become a produce snob. I like to eat food that’s in season.
  50. I’ve been playing golf as long as I’ve been dancing, since I was 13 or 14.
  51. I’ve been playing golf as long as I’ve been dancing, since I was 13 or 14. I play off six. I like to get out on a golf course as often as I can.
  52. I’ve never worried about being rich or famous – for me, it’s all about the dancing.
  53. If I avoid anything, it’s that I don’t really go to places that are like a little corner of England. I also never mind going to a dance show because I love it all so much.
  54. If I do find myself walking up the aisle and dancing at my own wedding reception, I want the first dance to be both spontaneous and dramatic.
  55. If things don’t go fantastically, you just have to deal with it.
  56. It may sound cliched, but ‘Strictly’ is a real journey. I try to encourage my partner to stay in as long as they can, but above all to enjoy it.
  57. It’s great that ballroom dancing is being recognised. For many years ballroom dancers were misunderstood and other dance forms didn’t want anything to do with us.
  58. Life’s supposed to be an adventure, a surprise!
  59. Mum was always hard-working. She came over from Spain and bought her own council house.
  60. My father is Hungarian and moved to Britain during the uprising, and my Spanish mum comes from Galicia; they moved here at the end of the Fifties.
  61. My favourite dance is the Foxtrot. It’s a proper dance with proper music. It has class.
  62. My goal is to be the best TV presenter, the best entertainer, the best singer. I still want to be the best dancer. I want to be the best at everything I do.
  63. My goal was to become the best dancer in the world and, because I started late, I always had this feeling I was playing catch-up, so I’ve been a bit of a maniac most of my life, sort of striving.
  64. My old dance teacher, Jimmy Wilde, a former European ballroom dancing champion, was so sophisticated.
  65. My only drive was to be the best dancer in the world, but I never won the world championship.
  66. My perfect morning is spent drinking coffee, eating porridge and reading the paper at a local cafe.
  67. One day, I just wandered into a dance class full of girls, and that was it. I thought, ‘Hang on! I’ll have a bit of this.’ I went back a week later and got dragged up by the teacher. It wasn’t a massive calling.
  68. Since being involved in ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ my life has changed completely. I can’t walk down the street without women throwing themselves at me, I usually wouldn’t mind, but they are of a certain age. Hopefully, after this series, they will bring their daughters!
  69. So much illness is self-induced – which I can’t stand. And I’m not a good nursemaid. Don’t call me if you’re ill.
  70. The Fred Astaire movies made a huge impression on me.
  71. The Ritz in London has an old-fashioned charm, with waiters wearing tails and white gloves. The dining room is exquisite, with immaculate service and ornate details.
  72. The thing about me is that I love variety. I like to try new things, and I don’t want to be pinned back.
  73. The world would be a better place if everyone learned to dance.
  74. The worst question is, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ I don’t know. Variety is the spice of life. That’s the best way to describe it.
  75. There is not a lot of money in competition dancing. There never has been; it’s all about winning the trophies, really. It’s not like golf.
  76. Too many multi-vitamins are packaged as one size fits all, but you should be more specific about what you need. When I was competing as a dancer, I took zinc for healthy skin and immune system.
  77. We didn’t know anything about Judy Murray until we met her, but once we got to know her, we found she was an absolute scream.
  78. When I’m dancing with any woman, I immediately get rid of intimacy barriers. I just give her a big hug and crack on.
  79. When you dance together, there’s a fabulous interaction. It’s quite intimate. You’re touching your partner, leading them. Learning how to behave in that person’s proximity is a skill. I love it. I can’t imagine tiring of it.
  80. Wherever I can get a fast track, I’ll try to because I can’t stand the airport experience. If you can afford priority boarding, then do it. Nobody wants an unpleasant experience before it starts.
  81. With the media how it is these days, people expect to know everything. I don’t talk about my girlfriend because essentially she doesn’t want to be talked about.
  82. You can’t talk about yourself in the third party – that makes you a lunatic!
  83. You spend your life having lessons, practising and competing as an amateur, and working during the day. As you get to the top end of the amateur field, you try not to work anymore; you earn your living through dancing, maybe by doing a bit of teaching. It’s an ongoing life’s work.