Anton Du Beke reveals he was stabbed by his father

Kate Garraway praises the Strictly Come Dancing judge’s positivity after he speaks about the traumatic childhood incident for the first time.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton Du Beke has revealed that he was stabbed by his father and spent three days in hospital as a child.

The much-loved judge, who’ll be returning to the Strictly line-up in the autumn, opened up to TV presenter Kate Garraway on her Life Stories chat show, which is on ITV1 tonight at 9pm and available on catch-up on the streaming service ITVX.

Anton du Beke sat down wearing a yellow suit.Credit: Shutterstock/LD Media UK

“I got stabbed in the leg and in the stomach because of a fight on Boxing Day, and it was an idiotic situation,” he told Garraway, speaking about his tough childhood with his alcoholic father Antal.

“I remember walking out of the house to walk up to the hospital, holding my leg, and a police car drove past so I waved them down and said: “He’s in there with a knife.

“Anyway, they carted him off and I ended up in hospital for about three or four days. My only concern was getting back into the studio and dancing, and the embarrassment of it.”

Du Beke, 57, told his fellow dancers he had injured his hamstring rather than admitting the truth and put the incident behind him, concentrating on doing what he loved.

“I fell in love with the fact that there were rules and form to this world. I don’t like mayhem”

“I’ve never spoken about this before in my entire life,” he told Garraway. “I’ve never said this out loud before. I’m sure my friends and family don’t even know.”

Du Beke and Garraway were dance partners for the fifth series of Strictly Come Dancing back in 2007 and the professional dancer gallantly defended her when the judges criticised her footwork. He’s also been paired with Esther Rantzen, Ann Widdecombe and Jerry Hall on the BBC show. In 2020, the fan favourite hung up his dancing shoes to fill in for Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel and is now a permanent – and popular – fixture. 

“He’s such an extraordinarily positive figure,” Garraway told Good Morning Britain viewers. “I’m just so proud of him. His attitude to life is amazing. He’s funny, he’s clever and he’s had this difficult start in life. It was very serious physically, medically and obviously devastating emotionally. He doesn’t want it to be a pity party, which is so inspirational.”

Du Beke spoke to Saga Magazine in 2021 about his escape into the world of dance and his desire to find order after his difficult childhood. “I fell in love with the fact that there were rules and form to this world. I don’t like mayhem,” he said.

“My dad was a drunk, a violent man. I don’t like to think about him. My mum had to work two jobs, so life wasn’t great, but we just got on with it.”

After his parents divorced, Du Beke had no contact with Antal and didn’t go to his funeral in 2001. He admits he didn’t show emotion when he heard the news, but felt sorry for his mother. “You can’t feel anything if you don’t have a relationship. Crack on, is the way I think. Don’t look back, look forward,” he told Saga.

The Strictly star went on to build his own happy family life with wife Hannah Summers – and he became a father to twins Henrietta and George at the age of 50. A self-confessed nappy-changing, hands-on dad, he had no fears about his own role as a parent.

“I’m not my father,” he told Saga. “Never have been. I was 14 when my brother [Stephen] was born and, because my mum was working, me and my sister looked after him, so I knew all about nappies and feeding. But it’s very different when they are your own. My children delight me every single day.”

Kate Garraway’s Life Stories is on ITV1 on Wednesdays at 9pm and if you miss it, you can watch it for free anytime on ITVX.

Hannah Verdier

Written by Hannah Verdier

Updated:

Hannah Verdier writes about fitness, health, relationships, podcasts, TV and the joy of reinventing yourself at 50 and beyond. She’s a graduate of teenage music bible Smash Hits and has a side hustle as a fitness trainer who shows people who hated PE at school how to love exercise.

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