'Strictly' at Blackpool: King of Ballroom Anton du Beke gets his first 10s in 17 series of the show

Katie Archer
Contributor
(BBC)

Anton du Beke has scored his first ever 10s in Strictly Come Dancing, having taken part in all 17 series of the show.

The series stalwart is the only pro dancer to have taken part in every contest since the show launched in 2004, but amazingly has never before got a top score from any of the judges.

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However, it all came together for du Beke, known as the King of Ballroom, in Saturday’s episode live from Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom, where he and partner Emma Barton scored 37 points for their American Smooth - including two 10s, from Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli.

Du Beke, who jumped around with joy as the scores were announced, said: “First ever 10s. 17 series. You don’t understand. This is how Kevin Clifton feels, it’s lovely.”

Clifton has reached the final five times and won once, while du Beke’s best-ever placing has been third and his low-scoring partners, who have included Ann Widdecombe, Judy Murray and Susannah Constantine, have become a running joke each year.

The high scores meant even more to du Beke as one of his 10s came from head judge Ballas, who some viewers thought there had been a palpable tension between in recent weeks as they disagreed over critiques, particularly for the couple’s Rumba.

After high praise from Ballas in the ballroom, du Beke climbed up to the judges’ bench to give her a hug.

Many of the other couples also upped their game for the annual trip to Blackpool, with Chris Ramsey opening the show with two nines and Alex Scott getting her highest score on 34 points.

Kelvin Fletcher and Karim Zeroual were tied in first place on the leaderboard, having both scored 39 points - with the audience and show’s stars booing judge Craig Revel Horwood for only giving Zeroual’s Charleston a nine.

Strictly Come Dancing returns for the results show on Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One.