This year’s Strictly Come Dancing will be Anton Du Beke’s 13th – and he’s finally hoping to steer his celebrity partner towards the glitter ball trophy that has so far eluded him.
Du Beke, who’s previously been paired with Ann Widdecombe, Jerry Hall and most recently Judy Murray, will take to the dance floor with BBC proms presenter Katie Derham – and has high hopes after keeping a keen eye on her during the group dance in the launch show.
“Oh man, did you see her go?” he enthuses to RadioTimes.com between rehearsals. “Gorgeous. I’m putting my money on Katie.”
But the Strictly professional is hedging his bets in favour of Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell.
“I think Daniel O’Donnell is going to be charming. He’s such a lovely man. He’s gentle and he’s got a lovely, gentle way of speaking. And he’s elegant and he stands well. He’s going to be charming.”
His other runners and riders are also from the male line-up: “Jay McGuiness – I think he’s going to be alright. And Peter [Andre] is going to be lovely. He’s going to go down an absolute storm.”
As for off-screen competition, Du Beke says there is rivalry between Strictly and ITV’s The X Factor but “only from a mischievous perspective”.
“I just think people love to see both of the show and if they can watch them both they will do… But if they to make a choice they’d probably choose Strictly. Just saying!”
Whether or not he finally waltzes away with the glitter ball trophy, Du Beke has no intention of retiring.
“I have no desire or inclination to stop. I absolutely love it. I shall be going as long as it goes whether they ask me or not – I’m just going to turn up. ‘Who have I got? Come on, give me one.'”
Anton Du Beke is an ambassador for The National Lottery Awards show, National Lottery Stars 2015, Monday 21st September at 10.35pm on BBC1, which celebrates the UK’s favourite arts, sports, heritage and community projects. More info at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
Watch our exclusive video with Daniel O’Donnell and partner Kristina Rihanhoff:
Robin Windsor and former Strictly contestants Alex Jones, Russell Grant and Deborah Meaden will be reflecting on their time on the dance floor at Radio Times Festival on Sunday 27th September. You can buy tickets here.
Sir Bruce Forsyth will also be sharing anecdotes and taking questions about his eight decades on stage and screen on Sunday 27th December. For more information and tickets, click here.