Anton Du Beke Becomes Choked Up As He Pays Tribute To Friend And Strictly Colleague Len Goodman

The Strictly Come Dancing judge became emotional as he shared memories of his long friendship with Len Goodman.
(Left) Anton Du Beke being interviewed on The One Show, (Right) With Len Goodman in 2013
(Left) Anton Du Beke being interviewed on The One Show, (Right) With Len Goodman in 2013
BBC/Mark Robert Milan/Getty

Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke became choked up while paying tribute to his friend and former colleague Len Goodman.

The two performers shared the screen on 14 seasons of Strictly in total, during which Len was on the judging panel and Anton was still part of the show’s professional line-up, but also had a friendship spanning more than 4o years.

On Monday night, following the news that Len had died at the age of 78, Anton paid his respects during a live video interview on The One Show.

As he shared his memories of Len, Anton had an emotional moment as he recalled the advice his friend gave him when he finally landed a role on the Strictly panel.

“One of the things he said to me, when I got the…” he began, pausing for a moment as he became emotional.

“Ridiculous isn’t it?” Anton interrupted himself, before continuing: “When I got the job, he said to me, ‘say what you say, and be yourself’. And that’s exactly as Len was, he was himself.”

As Anton’s voice became shaky again, he concluded: “And I was lucky enough to know him for a long time… and lucky enough to call him a friend.”

Len Goodman on the set of Dancing With The Stars
Len Goodman on the set of Dancing With The Stars
Eric McCandless via Getty Images

Elsewhere in the interview, Anton fondly recalled: “Len was different from everybody else – as we know from Strictly Come Dancing. But he was as you saw him on Strictly Come Dancing.

“He was incredible, he had that sort of loveable rogue-ish aspect about him as well. But you wanted him to like what you did. And that, for me, remained through my whole career. Whenever I knew he was judging, if I saw the marks at the end of a competition, I would look at Len’s marks and see if he’d marked me and how well he liked me.

“And it was the same, ridiculously, on Strictly Come Dancing. I would value his comments above anybody else’s comments, because he knew exactly what I was trying to do. There was an element of ‘let’s try and do this to please Len’.”

“As I said, I was lucky to have known him for more than 40 years, and we became great friends. We spent a lot of time together, either in the business or working on Strictly and other shows,” he added. “He was funny and brilliant and interesting.”

On Monday afternoon, Anton also paid tribute to Len in a lengthy statement posted on his social media accounts.

BBC News reported that Len died in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells, Kent over the weekend, surrounded by his family, having been diagnosed with bone cancer.

Tributes have since been paid by a number of his Strictly Come Dancing colleagues, including long-serving judge Craig Revel Horwood and hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.


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