Strictly: Neil Jones says he feels ‘very lucky’ to be part of show
Strictly Come Dancing professional Neil Jones, 38, has spoken out on Anton du Beke, 54, and the uncertainty surrounding his role on the BBC show. Speculation about whether Anton would remain part of the programme’s team of professional dancers mounted when the King of Ballroom temporarily joined the judging panel last year.
Anton hang up his dancing shoes and took Motsi Mabuse’s seat after she was unable to judge on the show for two weeks, as an emergency trip to Germany meant she had to self-isolate upon her return to the UK.
Following Anton’s success as a judge, Neil has admitted he is unsure whether he will become a permanent member of the panel for 2021, or if Bruno Tonioli will make his comeback instead.
When quizzed on whether Bruno could return after he was forced to step back from Strictly 2020 due to coronavirus travel restrictions in the US, Neil revealed: “I have no idea.
“Anton was incredible and Bruno is always hilarious. But again it all comes down to COVID.
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“If we still have a similar situation next year you never know.
“They might turn around and say: ‘Anton, we’re going to make you the fourth judge.’”
After hinting that Anton’s role on the show depends on the impact of the pandemic, the ballroom and Latin dancer addressed whether or not Anton would accept if he was offered a permeant position as a judge.
Neil explained: “Anton loved it but Anton also loves dancing and he loves being in the group dances with all of us.”
Despite the doubt surrounding Anton’s role on Strictly, Neil insisted he and his fellow dancers trust the producers completely.
He continued to Entertainment Daily: “We all trust in the production staff because year after year they win awards, the numbers are going up, people love the show, so they know what they’re doing.
“So we stick to the dancing and we let them stick to the production side.”
It comes after Anton hinted he could be willing to give up his time on the Strictly dance floor to become a full-time judge.
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The star admitted he is now getting “tired of competing” following his stint on the panel.
He revealed: “As I’ve got older, I don’t like to compete now, funnily enough.
“If I’m playing against somebody in golf then I like that.
“I don’t like match-play as I don’t want to be that competitive anymore.
“I’m like, ‘If you win then I don’t mind…’ I’ve been down that road.”
Anton also shared his vow to not resort to being nasty to Strictly Come Dancing hopefuls.
He said on Paul McKenna’s podcast: “I’m not one of these people who says something cruel, then says, ‘I’m only joking’.
“They’re the most annoying in the world. I’m not mean, you see.”
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