He's been on the show for each of its 17 series but Anton du Beke had a Strictly first on Saturday night. The pro dancer opened the Halloween special with his partner Emma Barton, something he's never done before! Emma revealed to co-host Claudia Winkleman that it was the first time in Strictly's history that Anton had the pleasure of dancing the first number of the evening. She said: "Anton said to me earlier in rehearsals 'I don't think I've ever opened a show on Strictly.'" Anton replied: "Can't remember doing it before that… it's absolutely wonderful!"
The couple performed a Tango and were met with mixed reactions from the judges, but managed to score a fairly impressive 28 points. Telling Claudia of her experience, the EastEnders actress added: "That’s the best I felt I’d done it this evening and I was really thrilled because I really wanted to do well for Anton."
Anton made his own Strictly history on the Halloween special
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It was an eerie start to the evening as three Strictly favourites were noticeably missing from the line-up. Co-host Tess Daly soon revealed that both Neil Jones and Will Bayley had injured themselves during rehearsals meaning they were unable to perform with their partners Alex Scott and Janette Manrara, respectively. A Strictly spokesperson said: "Sadly, Will Bayley was injured during training and medics have said he cannot dance in the show this weekend. Under the rules of Strictly Come Dancing, Will has been granted a bye to next week. Separately, Alex Scott’s partner Neil Jones received an injury whilst training this morning. Kevin Clifton has stepped in to partner Alex in tonight’s show."
Alex was forced to dance with Kevin instead of Neil
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Alex managed to score her highest total yet with Kevin as her partner, earning 34 points from the judges' who praised her ability to carry Kevin – who only had 40 minutes to learn their dance – through the routine. Head judge Shirley Ballas told her: "Your mental capacity to switch partners, just a few hours before, I think it was on point – congratulations."
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