First there was Doncaster’s own diva, then a politician with two left feet, a sparky Italian and finally Anton Du Beke got his dream partner in Strictly.
The veteran Strictly star, who is appearing in Sheffield next week, is clearly thrilled that for once he had a partner who could actually dance in BBC newscaster and Proms presenter Katie Derham.
Anton, who has been in the show since the beginning, first danced with Lesley Garrett, then had some famously difficult celebrity partners including Ann Widdecombe, Nancy Dell’Olio and Judy Murray.
Anton said of dancing with Katie: “It was lovely, it was hilarious. I was so thrilled because I thought we potentially could go a bit.
“You don’t want to think you could make the final but it was so fun. Our dances were quite good sometimes and we were getting good marks like 8 or 9.
“It shouldn’t have mattered that much but it did. To make the final was great.
“Strictly Come Dancing is always brilliant. It was a nice narrative that ran through the show as well. I’ve been in it since the beginning and never made the final.”
Anton was happy with fourth place. He said: “I didn’t really mind. Jay was probably the top banana, I think. He danced to a higher standard than anybody else throughout the whole series.
“It was really close. The last three dancers were the correct three. I don’t think Katie should have got into the top three, although she did a great job. The other three did just go up a little bit.”
Anton and his long-time professional partner Erin Boag are in Sheffield next week with their new show,
Erin, who left Strictly four years ago, took time off their live tours for a very special event.
Anton said: “A couple of years ago, Erin went off and had a baby. It was different without Erin, I must say. She’s back now and I don’t think she’d let me do it otherwise.”
He described the show, Anton and Erin… Just Gotta Dance, in typical Du Beke fashion: “We’ve got a big orchestra, dancers, Erin and me, singers including Lance Ellington from Strictly, singing away. What else do you want?
“It’s a great evening and you’ll come out of the theatre happier than when you went in. You’ll come out humming the tunes, having had a great night.”
He said that the inspiration from the show came out of “stuff we like to do and have loved through our lives, different songs and musical numbers”.
Anton said that the show evolves over several months, working round the Strictly series that take up so much of the year.
Then the hard work of choreographing begins in earnest as soon as the series ends. Anton said: “Having done quite a few shows, we have used so much music. Of course, there is so much music to use.
“You choose all the tracks you like and the music you think will work and then you build the show. Really, it’s the stuff you love to do.”
Anton added: “You want it to be the best it can be. You don’t want to have to rush it.”
He’s keeping the question and answer sessions that are popular with the audience for this tour, too.
For Anton, the show will always go on, regardless of whether he’s in Strictly or not. “I’ll always do something, it doesn’t matter what it is.”
Anton and Erin… Just Gotta Dance is at Sheffield City Hall next Thursday. Tickets: from the venue, call 0114 278 9789 or go to www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk