DESPITE being the first to be voted out of Strictly with his partner, former home secretary Jacqui Smith, Anton Du Beke, the longest-serving professional dancer on the show, is ever the optimist.
He’s often been landed with the dancing turkeys – Ann Widdecombe, Judy Murray, Nancy Dell’Olio and Susannah Constantine among them – but he has never given up hope of lifting the glitterball trophy.
Indeed, he reached last year’s final with actress Emma Barton. “We were close last year. We’ll have to wait and see, maybe one day,” he says.
Du Beke (54) has just penned A Christmas To Remember, the third in his historical romance series set at the swanky fictional hotel The Buckingham with its glamorous ballroom in pre-war London. This one opens with the announcement of the wedding of repeat characters Nancy and Raymond and charts the build-up to the big event.
“Although the novels are stand-alone, the hotel is the star of the piece, weaving the story in with the ballroom at the hotel and the dancing. It’s been lovely to get all these stories in my head down,” he explains.
Du Beke readily admits his books are collaborations, with him narrating what he visualises and somebody else taking it from there.
Just as in his professional life, he is good-humoured, jovial and warm away from work when talking about his family life with wife Hannah and three-year-old twins George and Henrietta.
The twins were conceived via IVF, which…