The judge won’t be returning despite a change in travel rules (Picture: ABC/BBC)
Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is announcing a host of contestants in the run up to the new series, but there’s one famous face we definitely won’t be seeing – Bruno Tonioli.
The 65-year-old, who lives in the US, previously revealed he was missing the new series due to uncertainty over coronavirus travel rules. Despite them recently changing, he has confirmed he still won’t be judging on the upcoming series.
It was previously announced that Anton Du Beke is replacing Bruno in the next run of the BBC One competition, joining Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.
People fully vaccinated in the US and most of the EU now no longer have to quarantine upon arrival. However, the change won’t impact Bruno’s decision.
Speaking on the red carpet for Anything Goes at London’s Barbican Theatre, he told the PA news agency: ‘Blame the travel insanity. It is like anyone. It is impossible to schedule. It is a mutual agreement because they have to go ahead. They have to produce a show.
‘They need people available. I am in America. I used to do it because I used to spend three days here and three days in LA. It is impossible. But the show is going to be fantastic regardless.’
Bruno has been a mainstay on the series since 2004 (Picture: BBC)
Addressing the change in travel rules, he added: ‘It is only for Americans coming in but I have to go back. I am fully vaccinated but it is not just once. I have to do it every week.
‘All it takes is somebody changes the rule and they are without a judge. It is too risky until things are back to normal and they say, “Everyone vaccinated can go backwards and forwards – no restrictions, no quarantine, then it may be possible”.
‘But there aren’t enough planes as well. There used to be three flights a day so if for some reason there is a problem you are put on the next one.’
He added: ‘But when you have these big shows, they don’t want to take the risk. I understand.’
It comes as Great British Bake Off’s John Whaite was announced as the fourth contestant set to take to the ballroom, taking part in the first ever all-male pairing.
The news was announced on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday morning, with guest presenter Matt Lucas making the announcement on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.
‘I am so excited! I’m very, very nervous. I’m actually shaking inside,’ he said.
‘I was born to be on that dancefloor. I’m going to have to be taken off kicking and screaming every week.’
John is known for winning the Bake Off in 2012, as well as appearing as a chef on shows such as Lorraine.
While there’s been a lot of speculation about the upcoming series, it’s been confirmed that it is almost returning to pre-pandemic normality – but Blackpool is still off the cards.
Strictly Come Dancing is coming to BBC One later this year.
Credit: Original article published here.