Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke is on the road again with a new show – but this time without his dance partner, Erin Boag.
Anton is on a three-month tour with his own show, Ballroom to Broadway, which will call in at Sheffield City Hall later this month.
Australian Strictly star Erin, who has been Anton’s professional dance partner since 1997, is taking time out to have a baby.
Anton said: “We’ve been on tour since mid-January. It’s been a lot of fun to do. The show is new for me because there’s no Erin. She’s having her baby around April time.”
He added: “Erin will be back at the end of the year. There will be no holding her back – she’s very determined.”
In the meantime, Anton has teamed up with a new female co-star for a show that takes a look back at the days of the classic musical.
He said: “This time I am joined by Summer Strallen, who is an amazing special guest. She is a West End and Broadway star.
“She’s such an amazing talent. I do a bit of what I do and she does a bit of what she does and we meet in the middle.”
He added: “It’s based on The Band Wagon, the film with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, who were an unlikely combination when they danced together.”
Summer, the niece of actress Bonnie Langford, has appeared in the West End in Top Hat, Love Never Dies and Cats.
When she played Maria Von Trapp in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2008 London Palladium revival of The Sound of Music, she also appeared as a character called Summer in the soap Hollyoaks as a publicity stunt for the musical.
Anton is also joined, once again, by Lance Ellington, one of the popular singers from Strictly.
He said: “I’m doing a couple of numbers with Lance, who is brilliant as normal. He’s doing Mack the Knife, which is just amazing. I think it’s the best version of that since Bobby Darin’s.
“When he sings This Is My Moment, it just brings the house down.”
Also on stage are a group of dancers and the Raymond Gubbay Big Band Orchestra, conducted by Richard Balcombe, and there is also a question and answer session with the audience. Anton is sure to reveal a few secrets from the latest season of Strictly.
Anton, Summer and Lance also get together for some songs including Steam Heat and the dancer joked that Lance had been frightened at the idea of dancing a few steps for that number.
Mind you, he couldn’t have a better teacher than the man who managed so memorably to drag Tory MP Ann Widdecombe around the dancefloor in Strictly series eight.
Anton was really pleased to be paired for the latest series with the actress Fiona Fullerton, making it to Blackpool to perform the American smooth to Come Fly With Me.
He said: “It went all right. We got to Blackpool and Fiona was a joy. I have good partners every year so it is just a joy to do.
“Nowadays the performances are a little bit more a number rather than a dance. Strictly has gone a little bit that way. I think that goes back to Ann. She sort of changed the tone.”
Anton said that he has given up trying to figure out how a series of Strictly will go for him.
He said: “I never think about it now. I’ve given up trying to think about things you have no control over. I take it week by week and see how it goes.”
He was impressed by Fiona, especially once she got over the worst of her nerves. “At the beginning she was a bit nervous and made a few mistakes.
“I can’t over-emphasise how hard it is for the competitors to do what they do, because they make it look so easy.
“Week after week they seem to improve and do such a good job, especially when you think how nerve-wracking it is. It’s unbelievable they’re able to put one foot in front of the other.”
Anton said he had not singled out Abbey Clancy to win from the beginning of the series. “Until you see them move, you don’t know. That’s the key. I was not sure at the beginning, I didn’t think it would be a good lot.
“I thought it could be a dodgy year but it turned out to be the best year.
“It just turned out that way. They all came on tremendously.”
Anton Du Beke - Ballroom To Broadway, co-starring Summer Strallen, comes to Sheffield City Hall on Thursday, February 27. Further information: www.raymondgubbay.co.uk and ticket hotline: 0844 847 2319.