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Anton Du Beke: "I didn't have a relationship with my father"

Anton Du Beke:
© BBC
Anton Du Beke opens up on his strained relationship with his father, who died almost 20 years ago.

Strictly Come Dancing veteran Anton Du Beke has revealed that he had no meaningful relationship with his father before his death.

Speaking to The Times, the 54-year-old dancer recalled growing up with heavy-drinking Antal Beke - a Hungarian waiter - and had nothing to do with him in the decade before he died at the age of 62 in 2001.

"I didn't have a relationship with my father," he said in the profile piece. "His drinking became a big thing. He was the hard, Eastern European type. Heavy drinker, heavy smoker.

"It was a different time and you'd have the belt taken to you and stuff like that. He'd just fly off the handle. And he was always slightly aggressive anyway.

"There was always the moment when you came home and opened the front door thinking, 'I hope he's not home,' and trying to avoid him, and not going into the room he was in because there was no benefit of being in the same room as him. He'd either be drunk or half drunk."

Describing the moment he learned that his father had died, he said: "The phone went and it was the coroner who said, 'Hello, it's the coroner's office,' and I said, 'OK,' and he said, 'Is your mum there?' and I said, 'No, she's not in at the moment.'

"I knew why he was ringing, funnily enough. He asked if he could leave a message and I said no, call back, because I knew he was going to tell me my father had died and I didn't care. Or want to know.

"He was a stranger to me. That sounds a bit harsh and I don't mean to sound like that. But I didn't want to have to deal with it. I was having a perfectly lovely day and didn't want to know about it."

Du Beke is partnered with former home secretary Jacqui Smith for the new series of Strictly, which airs its first live show tonight.

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