Anton du Beke reckons he can finally break his duck on Strictly Come Dancing this year with his new partner ex-Footballers Wives star Laila Rouass.

“To be honest with you, if they’d said to me what sort of partner do you want this year, I’d say a fella, because they do so well!” says Anton.

“But working with Laila this time is exciting, because she oozes potential.”

As well as the controversial decision to replace judge Arlene Phillips with former contestant Alesha Dixon on the panel and the addition of ballet dancer Darcey Bussell, who will guest judge on the last three shows, the Sunday results show has been scrapped for a one-off show on Saturday.

But for the first two weeks of the series, which returns soon, the show will go out on Friday and Saturday where the couples will be divided into two groups and will have to perform a different dance on each night.

“I don’t mind a gentle evolution,” Anton tells TV Times about the changes. “As long as they don’t change me, I don’t care what they do! Alesha will be fine. I’m looking forward to what she says.

“But she better not criticise me or I’ll poke her in the arm with a big stick!”