Strictly’s Anton Du Beke tells Chris Evans about The Royal Show and Bruno Tonioli’s ‘genius booking’ on BGT

Virgin Radio

3 Mar 2023, 11:32

Anton Du Beke at Virgin Radio Studios

Strictly Come Dancing legend Anton Du Beke has opened up about his brand new book, The Royal Show, and what he thinks about former Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli heading over to Britain’s Got Talent. 

Anton and Bruno shared the Strictly stage since its inception in 2004, and Anton then stepped up to replace Bruno when he could no longer travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, and then became a permanent judge in 2021. 

Bruno has since been announced as a brand new judge on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon, replacing outgoing judge David Walliams. 

While on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch this morning (Friday 3rd March), Anton said Bruno’s jump to BGT was a “genius booking.”

He explained: “[Bruno] is brilliant. I've known him for 20 years, and he has great energy. I think he'll be so good on the show because he can talk about an array of acts, the whole gamut of everything. He'll put his enthusiasm into it and to the show. 

“He's been around the block, and been doing it a long time. He knows what he's looking at and I think his energy is going to be wonderful. I think it's genius.”

When he’s not too busy on the dance floor in his touring show with Giovanni Pernice or judging on Strictly Come Dancing, Anton is often behind the keyboard hammering out brand new stories as part of his impressive collection of novels. 

The dance veteran is following on from his five Buckingham Hotel books with a brand new original story, The Royal Show, which was released yesterday (2nd March).

In The Royal Show, The Forsythe Variety Company has been given the chance to entertain Her Majesty at 1962’s Royal Variety Performance - but owner Ed Forsythe’s son Cal has absconded, leaving his sister Evie to manage the company. With old-timer Billy Rich coming to join them, and Cal returning suddenly, can they pull off the performance?

On moving away from his Buckingham Hotel characters and universe, Anton shared: “I'm loving those characters, they're very close to my heart, and it's just great. I don't want to fiddle with it or tamper with it or end it ever because I'm loving it, so my publisher has said ‘let's do something new as well,’ and I went ‘okay…let's do it!’

“It will surprise you to hear that this is set in the theatre…in 1962. You have that sort of clash of eras, from sort of what I call the war era, to the enfant terrible - the youngsters who weren't part of the war but want to change the world.”

There’s plenty of drama to sink your teeth into in The Royal Show, according to Anton, who added: “There's a dead body in the first two pages.What more do you want? A big star comes over from America to perform with the company, there's all the sort of tensions and jealousies and all that sort of stuff going on backstage.

“I love a story and I love characters that you can become part of. I look at that book, and it's a 300-something-pages hardback book, but what I feel like is you open it, and you step into it, and you go into another world. That's how I feel about it really.”

Anton’s brand new novel, The Royal Show, is out now. 

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.