Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli has quit the BBC flagship show after 18 years, reports claim.
It is believed that the beloved judge, who was forced to miss last year’s series due to Covid travel restrictions, will now focus his attentions on Dancing With The Stars US, in which he also serves as a panellist.
Bruno was unable to appear on Strictly in 2021, with professional dancer Anton Du Beke taking his place on the panel alongside Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, and Shirley Ballas.
Since then, there has been much speculation as to whether Anton would replace Bruno full time, or whether there would be five judges in a major show shake-up.
However, it now appears that Bruno has left altogether.
‘Bruno has quit the show for good,’ an insider said.
They added to the Mail: ‘He’s going to be a judge only on Dancing With The Stars from now on.’
In February, reports claimed that bosses were planning to replace long-serving judge Bruno with Anton, who first joined the judging panel after a two-week guest stint in the in 2020.
Anton was a firm fan favourite during last year’s series – which saw actress Rose Ayling-Eliis crowned winner – and it was said that producers were planning to make his transition from the dance floor to the podium permanent.
‘We have been told Anton’s contract as a judge is going to be renewed,’ an insider told The Sun.
‘The bosses were really happy with his performance.’
Despite the source’s claims, Craig recently suggested Strictly could accommodate five judges, without the need to dump Anton or 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.’
Strictly Come Dancing is set to return later this year on the BBC.