THERE’s a Strictly battle in town as fans of the phenomenally successful TV celebrity dance show will have a tough choice to make soon. Do they go to see the Strictly Live tour at the Motorpoint Arena with all the stars of the last series or head into town for a chance to watch Anton and Erin Go to Hollywood at the City Hall? Julia Armstrong talks to Anton du Beke and Emma Cox catches up with Sheffield’s own twinkletoes, Michael Vaughan.
The man famous for dragging Tory politician Ann Widdecombe around the dancefloor on Strictly Come Dancing has been polishing up his act for his fans.
Anton du Beke, the cheeky chappy who has been given a series of challenging dance partners for the show, says that he and long-term professional partner Erin Boag, another well-loved Strictly star, have to practise hard with their own trainers to get back into shape for performing complicated routines together.
He said: “We love what we do and we’re always trying to improve it.”
They are touring in a show called Anton and Erin Go to Hollywood, which will be an elegant evening of dance, music and stories. Singer Lance Ellington, one of the popular Strictly singers, is joining the team. Anton says that fans of the show also love to hear a bit of backstage gossip, especially as he is famously indiscreet and forthright.
Take his views on Sheffield cricketer Michael Vaughan, who appeared in the last series: “It was because of him that Jerry Hall and I got voted off. When he beat us it was probably the worst cha cha cha I had ever seen!
“But once he got through that, he produced one of my favourite moments of the series, which was him doing New York, New York at Wembley.
“He gave me a high and a low and took me to both ends of the spectrum. I never thought I’d say that to a fella!”
Members of the audience can also ask their own questions in a Q&A section that always proves popular. The questions are written down on slips that are pulled out of a box.
He said that Ann Widdecombe was a bit of a revelation. “As a politican she is opinionated and very serious but she was the complete antithesis of that. She’s a wonderful person. She laughed at herself and wanted people to enjoy things with her. She was just brilliant.
“She said, when I’m a politician it’s a serious job that affects people’s lives. This is Strictly Come Dancing. I’m going to have fun and just go with it.”
Anton says he really enjoys the show and usually joins the studio audience to cheer the other performers on, even after he has been knocked out. He said: “It’s such a lovely show. The studio looks wonderful and it’s a great atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if you come first or last.”
He has had a few early departures in recent years and clearly thought he had a good chance at last with Jerry Hall. He said he thought she was a good dancer and hadn’t had the chance to show what she could achieve.
Anton’s clearly looking forward to getting back to what he and Erin do best, though. They have competed together at the top levels in professional ballroom dancing, which is what brought them to the attention of the Strictly producers in the first place.
“It’s a really tremendous evening. If I wasn’t in it I’d watch it!” he said.
Anton and Erin Go to Hollywood is at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday February 10. The Strictly Come Dancing Live tour arrives at the Arena on February 9 and 10, featuring 2012 champion Louis Smith, West End star Denise Van Outen, former England cricketer Phil Tufnell, Tracey Beaker star Dani Harmer, TV presenter Fern Britton, TV actress Lisa Riley and our very own Michael Vaughan.