Anton Du Beke has replaced Bruno Tonioli on Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (Picture: BBC)
Anton Du Beke has officially replaced Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel for the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The professional dancer, 54, made his debut on the panel last year, sitting in for Motsi Mabuse for two weeks, and was a hit with viewers thanks to his honest, helpful criticisms.
BBC bosses have confirmed he will be covering taking Bruno’s seat for the entire competition this year, as the star is unable to take part.
He will be offering his expertise beside returning judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi.
‘My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues for the next series of Strictly,’ Anton said of the news.
‘It’s a dream come true to be judging alongside the best of the best and I promise to be kinder to all the couples than any of them have ever been to me.’
Bruno will not be returning to the Strictly panel this year (Picture: BBC)
Bruno, 65, added: ‘Whilst I am gutted to not be on the show this year there is one person and one person only that could take my place – it’s just a shame they weren’t available…haha!
‘Darlings I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Seriously though, I have to tell you, Anton IS Mr Strictly and if anybody is filling in for me, it has to be him.
‘I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way and I am so excited to see him waggle his paddle.’
Anton is a staple of Strictly, having joined the competition in the very first series, in 2004.
Anton has been a staple of the Strictly dancefloor (Picture: BBC)
He is the only professional dancer to have danced in every series to date, bringing plenty of experience to the panel.
The star previously auditioned to replace head judge Len Goodman when he departed the panel in 2016, but producers eventually offered the position to Shirley.
‘You know what they say about you lose more than you win,’ he said on Steph’s Packed Lunch.
‘When Len left Strictly Come Dancing, they interviewed and auditioned a number of people to take over from Len.
‘I auditioned for it and I got turned down.’
He eventually got his way, replacing briefly replacing Motsi last year and becoming a firm hit with viewers.
Bring on the next series!
Strictly Come Dancing is returning to BBC One later this year.