An evening with Anton Du Beke

Having a great little theatre on my doorstep, the Amey Theatre, part of Abingdon School is super – I go and see the NT and RSC live screenings there, and occasionally our local indie bookshop will manage to get a big author in for an event, which was the case last night. It was a full house for Anton Du Beke, mostly ladies of a certain age (ahem) including a whole lot of his travelling fans who managed to snaffle the front row!

I knew Anton had written a previous novel which was well received, but I didn’t realise that We’ll Meet Again, his latest, was actually his fourth. It’s set, as you might imagine in WWII. The ticket price included a signed book, so although romances aren’t usually my kind of thing, because I got it dedicated to me I will read it!

Anton was interviewed by Radio Oxford presenter Kat Orman, and although they started talking about the book and Anton’s love of history, things soon moved onto Strictly.

He is a good raconteur and he drew out the story of how he got paired with Anne Widdecombe for ages – hilarious! It should have been Vincent that got her going by height – but that wasn’t to be. He claimed they went all out for fun and aimed to get a ‘1’ from Craig. He said they really don’t know who they are to be paired with – I still find that hard to believe but will go along with it.

He told us all about how he loves judging this season, and it’s so nice that when he gives a note, to see when it gets acted upon. Very satisfying. He’s also enjoying the dynamics of the leader-board now where last week’s leaders can be this week’s bottom couple, and the standard is so high. He also talked about his touring show with Erin – they’ve been dancing together for 25 years, and a forthcoming one next year with Giovanni.

Although he played up to the audience of course, he came across as very natural, speaking freely and easily, including about becoming a father at the age of 50. He was really interesting when he spoke about history and the evolution of ballroom dancing, contrasting with all his funny stories. Finally, Anton was absolutely charming at the signing and posed for socially distanced photos with everyone.

A great evening. Keep Dancing!

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