ANTON Du Beke broke down in tears over the death of Len Goodman as he appeared on telly last night.
The 56-year-old Strictly star was on The One Show to talk about the former judge , who has died from bone cancer age 78.
Taking off his glasses as his voice broke, Anton said: "He said to me when I got…when I got the job, he said, 'Say what you see and be yourself'.
"And that was exactly how Len was. He was himself. And I was lucky enough to know him for a long time – and lucky enough to call him a friend. So… I miss him."
Anton admitted that his death had come as a complete "shock" to him.
He told Alex Jones and her co-host Jermaine Jenas: "I woke up this morning to the news that Len had passed away. I had no idea that he was unwell. It was a shock.
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"It's been lovely to read all the things and hear all the things that people have been saying about him, because I've known Len for 40 years."
With his voice breaking, he admitted: "I'm getting emotional now. I've been emotional all day. It's ridiculous.
"But I've known Len for 40 years as a man and a boy and I remember him first judging me as a young dancer. He was different to everyone else. He was as you saw him. He was incredible and had that loveable rogue aspect about him as well.
"You wanted him to like what you did and that, for me, remained throughout my whole career.
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"It was the same, ridiculously, on Strictly Come Dancing. I would value his comments more and above everyone else's comments.
"He knew exactly what I was trying to do and there was an element of 'let's try and do this to please Len'."
Describing Len as a "great friend", Anton continued: "He was funny and brilliant and interesting and well informed.
"He was a joy to be with. That was the thing about Len – he had such joy and gave off such joy."
News of Len's shock death broke on Monday morning.
A spokesperson for the star confirmed the former Strictly judge “died peacefully over the weekend surrounded by his family,” in a Tunbridge Wells Hospice.
She added that Len was a “much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him".
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