BBC bosses are reportedly ‘much divided’ over whether or not they should remove temporary judge Anton Du Beke from the panel and bring back Bruno Tonioli for next year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Professional dancer Anton, who has been with the flagship entertainment show since its inception in 2004, was invited to join judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood after Bruno was forced to give up his role on the show due to the pandemic.
Covid restrictions meant it was unknown while the shows were being planned if the lively Italian star would be able to fly between Los Angeles and England each week, as he has done in previous years, in order to appear on both Strictly and its US counterpart, Dancing With The Stars.
For the 2020 series, Bruno appeared only via video link as he remained in Los Angeles to film Dancing With The Stars, and now insiders at the BBC say that some bosses feel loyal to Anton.
There’s also said to be fear that the popular dancer Anton may choose to leave the show if he is axed from the panel.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, a source revealed: ‘The BBC are in a real quandary here. Anton has been so loved and such a pro, so it seems wrong to get rid of him. It seems disloyal, but then it was Bruno’s job.
‘It would be going a bit far to suggest there is a row going on, but there is certainly much divided opinion over what they want for next year’s show.’
Bruno has also been with Strictly since its first days, making up the original judging panel alongside Craig, Dame Arlene Phillips – who can currently be seen toughing it out on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! – and retired head judge Len Goodman, who still appears on the DWTS panel alongside Bruno.
An insider previously told The Sun that it would be a strange ‘transition’ for Anton to be back amongst his fellow pros after his stint as a judge, but it’s said he’s happy to do whatever’s asked of him.
The insider added: ‘Once you’ve been a judge and decided who stays and goes it is very tricky to make that step back into the competition and take part against all the other dancers.
‘Anton’s a professional so would make the best of the situation but it wouldn’t be an easy transition.’
It’s already been confirmed that Bruno will be back for the 2022 live shows, with the choreographer admitting that he ‘can’t wait to come and see the tour’.
The tour will be hosted by Strictly pro-turned-presenter Janette Manrara, with Craig and Shirley also keeping Bruno company during the January and February extavaganza.
Craig recently suggested the TV show could accommodate five judges, without the need to dump either 55-year-old Anton or 66-year-old Bruno.
He suggested to MailOnline: ‘Bruno adds something Anton can’t and vice-versa, if you look at it that way, so I think they’ve both got different opinions which I think is perfectly good.
‘We could easily have five people on that panel. I think our time would be limited because there are only two minutes for the judges to talk but we would make it count.’
Credit: Original article published here.