All good things must come to an end… but we certainly went out on a high! Literally; truly; tremendously. Ah yes, Judy and I are now out of the competition this year – but what a wonderful adventure we’ve had.
Firstly, we made it to Blackpool – hurrah!.. That’s something I’m particularly thrilled about: to have been able to share the experience of dancing on that world famous Tower Ballroom floor with my partner Judy in such a spectacular way and as part of such an incredible show – words can’t express the delight.
We danced a Viennese Waltz to ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ with a full-on Mary Poppins theme and production, and Judy did me proud. Her footwork, her musicality, her characterisation, her posture, her shaping… everything had taken a huge leap forward and a dancer was emerging! It’s such a large floor to cover, too – very different to the studio, and that takes some adapting to in itself. Her daredevil spirit (and a large bunch of balloons) elevated her almost a hundred feet above the dance floor for an uplifting finalé… and you can imagine our joy when we received a well-deserved 24 from the judges – including 7s each from Len and Bruno – marvellous! …Judy’s personal best (Craig’s words!) for the series, too!
Len made me roar, saying “If they can put a spaceship on a comet, Anton can teach Judy to dance.” That has to be the accolade of the series!
In view of the immense talent in this year’s competition it was no wonder we came back to earth with a bumpy landing… squarely at the bottom of the leaderboard. Everybody danced so very well; in actual fact, it’s hard not to in such an auspicious ballroom with such an enthusiastic, encouraging audience all around.
But on Sunday night, our worst fears were realised as we faced the dreaded dance off. Zoë pointed out the night before that I had left the competition last year in Blackpool… and after Dame Shirley Bassey’s spellbinding rendition of Goldfinger, I had a niggling suspicion there may be ‘A Little Bit Of History Repeating Itself’ (did you see what I did there?!).
And so, we went head-to-head with Brendan and Sunetra, and I must say that the precarious circumstance didn’t detract from the sheer thrill of taking to the floor once again with Judy. We danced our Viennese as though there were no tomorrow and it felt as though we were gliding on air. Alas, we had more than met our match, and it was a unanimous verdict from the Judges that Sunetra and Brendan should go through to next week – and we wish them the hugest of congratulations in doing so, too – very well deserved.
What a send-off. We bade our farewells to the Judges and to Tess and Zoë – everybody was so very complimentary about us, it was lovely – and Judy was so gracious and delightful – particularly about how very special her Strictly experience had been. For me, it truly has been enormous fun, made all the more so by Judy’s fabulous sense of humour, her winning personality, and the real bond and partnership we’ve developed over these past weeks. We took to the floor for our very last Strictly dance, and delivered a compendium of past lifts to go out with a farewell flourish.
In all sincerity, Judy and I both thank you all so very much for your votes every Saturday night. Without them we wouldn’t have escaped the dance-off for all those weeks, and couldn’t have made it through this far. You enabled me to take Judy all the way to Blackpool – one of the true high points of Strictly Come Dancing, and made some wonderful, wonderful memories. I so hope we’ve entertained each week, and brought some genuine pleasure to the competition.
Judy – thank you so very much for making Strictly 2014 such a fabulous experience – we’ve been on a tremendous journey together, dancing with you has been a pleasure and a delight, and I couldn’t have wished for a better partner.
As ever, it’s been an honour and a privilege to be a part of Strictly, and to work alongside such consummate professionals both in front of, and behind the cameras – a world class dream team. And with that, we must take our leave and enable the remaining eight couples to battle it out for that ever elusive glitterball trophy.
With much love, as always,