Anton Du Beke fought back tears when he remembered his Strictly Come Dancing co-star Len Goodman, who has passed away at the age of 78.
The TV judge, 56, was overcome with emotion on Monday’s The One Show as he and presenter Alex Jones, 46, paid a tearful tribute to the late star.
Len died in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells after a brief battle with bone cancer on Saturday night, days before his 79th birthday.
Anton appeared via videolink on the BBC programme, where he revealed the advice Len gave him before becoming a strict judge in 2021.
Anton began, “He said to me when I got the job…” but choked before finishing his sentence.
Grief: Anton Du Beke fought back tears as he reacted to the death of his Strictly Come Dancing co-star Len Goodman
Upset: The TV judge, 56, was overcome with emotion on Monday’s The One Show as he and host Alex Jones, 46, cried live on-air
Emotional: As a tribute to his friend, Anton appeared via video link on the BBC program where he revealed the advice Len gave him before becoming a strict judge in 2021
He continued, “Ridiculous, don’t you think? When I got the job, he said, “Say what you see and be yourself.” And that was just the way Len was. He was himself. I’ve been lucky enough to have known him for a long time.’
When Anton said he was “lucky to call Len a friend,” an emotional Alex replied, “Oh, what a lovely tribute.”
Former Strictly professionals Flavia Cacace and AJ Pritchard also paid tribute to Len. Italian professional dancer Flavia, 43, who appeared on Strictly between 2006 and 2012, and AJ, 28, who was on the show from 2016 to 2019, spoke about their fond memories of Len while talking to Vanessa Feltz on Talk TV on Monday .
Flavia, who is married to actor Jimi Mistry, her partner in 2010’s Strictly, said: ‘It was an absolute shock this morning – my husband told me and I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know he was sick so it comes as a complete shock…
Farewell: Former Strictly Come Dancing professionals Flavia Cacace (pictured) and AJ Pritchard also paid tribute to Len
Twinkle-toed star: Former Strictly Judge Len, who also appeared on US show Dancing With The Stars, died after a battle with bone cancer, it was announced Monday (pictured in 2014)
“He was well respected in the ballroom world as a competitor and a judge, but he also had incredible charisma for the showbiz side and I think that’s what made it such a success, because he was able to bring the two worlds together. together and thank goodness he was a part of Strictly from the start because without him things would have been very different.
“He was just the perfect match for the show.”
Of Len’s dedication to good footwork and precision on the dance floor, she added, “He was straight to the point, but I think every dancer respected him.
“I remember standing there waiting for the comments, he was always the one who said if you got a good comment or if you got an A from Len it would make you weak because you knew it was coming from someone who was an expert in that field and he always told the truth.
“It was always, what he saw he said, he didn’t hold back and sometimes when it wasn’t positive it really hit you because you knew it was coming from him.
“But he was always very positive, he was great on and off the dance floor, very friendly, very down to earth, just a sweet, sweet guy.”
Referring to Len’s catchphrase and overzealous score announcements, AJ said, “I can’t even say the number seven in a normal way anymore, it must be a ‘SEVEN’, and to think that one person could have honestly changed the perception of ballroom – and latin dance, from the sequins, the fake tan.
“At first it was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m a dancer,’ kinda proud of it internally, but maybe not externally, and then Len, Strictly Come Dancing, he’s that magic recipe that made ballroom and Latin what it’s today, and to be proud to say, “I’m a ballroom and Latin dancer.” It’s hard work, but we’re definitely having fun.
Looking back: AJ, 28 (right), who was on Strictly from 2016 to 2019, spoke about his fond memories of Len to Vanessa Feltz, left, on Talk TV
Respected: AJ said Len was known for his valuable constructive criticism and was always encouraging to his fellow dancers (AJ can be seen with Saffron Barker in the 2019 series)
Partners: Flavia, who is married to actor Jimi Mistry, who she worked with in Strictly in 2010, said it was her husband who told her about Len’s death (Flavia and Jimi in Strictly in 2010)
Host Vanessa Feltz was herself a Strictly contestant on series 11 in 2013, when she was paired with former show professional James Jordan.
Vanessa spoke of Len’s “demanding standards” and recalled that she would definitely listen to Len when he told her to make improvements. AJ continued, “He was straight to the point. He was a true ballroom and Latin dancer.
“He said it like it is and he wasn’t worried about what anyone else was going to say.
From his lines, “pickle my walnuts,” whatever he said, it was always constructive criticism, and even if it was like a dog’s meal and someone fell over, and it all went wrong, he’d still give you that motivation to stand up.
“He just made it feel like he and you were in the room. There wasn’t 12 million people watching at home, or even if you were just that person sitting at home, you felt like only him and you gave that zest for life, and that’s the problem with Len.
“He did it Strictly in the UK and in America at the same time, flying back and forth, he had such energy it was unbelievable.”
Len died Saturday in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by his own family after a battle with bone cancer.
Character: Referring to Len’s overzealous announcements of his scores for the celebrity contestants on Strictly, AJ said, “I can’t even say the number seven in a normal way anymore” (Len pictured in 2010)
A spokesperson for the star told MailOnline: “I can confirm he passed away peacefully over the weekend surrounded by his family.”
Len was a much loved judge on Strict after joining the show when it launched in 2004 and remaining on the panel until 2016.
Besides gaining a legion of fans in the UK, he also became a big name in the US after taking part in the US version of the show Dancing With The Stars. He stayed with the series from 2005 to 2022.
HE started his career as a welder and only became interested in dancing when his doctor told him to take it upon himself to help him recover from a foot injury.
Len became a successful professional dancer, winning titles including the British Exhibition Championships and the World Exhibition Championships, and later continued his love of dance after his retirement by founding the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent to help others achieve their dreams. to make.
Illness: Len Goodman had been retired just months when he died after a brief battle with bone cancer (LR: Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli pictured in 2012)
He chronicled his rise to fame in his 2009 memoir Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom and went on to publish two more volumes – Len’s Lost London and Dancing Around Britain.
He announced his retirement from Dancing With The Stars last year and received his very own Mirrorball trophy in his final episode.
Len said of the honor, “That’s fantastic. “It was so much fun for me to be a part of Dancing with the Stars. It really has.
“I had such a great time and this is definitely the icing on the cake.”