Entertainment & Arts

Claudia Winkleman replaces Sir Bruce on Strictly Come Dancing

Claudia Winkleman is to become the permanent host of Strictly Come Dancing, replacing Sir Bruce Forsyth, the BBC has confirmed.

She will team up with regular presenter Tess Daly on the BBC One entertainment show when it returns in the autumn.

Winkleman has stepped in for Sir Bruce on a number of occasions, and already co-hosts the Sunday night results show.

Sir Bruce announced he was leaving Strictly earlier this year, after facing criticism about his age.

He also said at the age of 86 he increasingly found live television "very strenuous".

He had already quit the results show in 2010, which is recorded straight after the live show on a Saturday, meaning a filming schedule that often stretches beyond 11pm.

Daly will step into Sir Bruce's role of introducing the acts and taking the judges' votes, while Winkleman will be chatting to the celebrities and dancers after their performances.

"I have loved Strictly since the second it appeared on our screens and I am honoured and thrilled to now be part of the Saturday night team," said Winkleman.

"Working alongside Tess is always fantastic and I can't wait to spend the weekends with her, our amazing dancers and the greatest judging panel on the planet. Sir Bruce is a living legend and we'll all miss him very much."

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman have been presenting the Strictly results show together since 2010
Sir Bruce and Tess Daly launched the show in 2004

BBC entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba said that, although Winkleman's appointment was "not a huge surprise", it marked "a hugely significant step" for the BBC.

"The new Strictly line-up is a clear demonstration of the BBC's determination to feature more women, particularly in its primetime output," he said.

'Great mates'

Winkleman has been involved with Strictly Come Dancing since it launched in 2004, presenting the BBC Two spin-off show It Takes Two until 2011. She also presents the Great British Sewing Bee and Film 2014, as well as the Arts Show on Radio 2.

Speaking about her new presenting partner, Daly said: "I'm so pleased that I'll be working with Claudia - she's long been part of the Strictly family and I've loved doing the Sunday show with her.

"It's really exciting having two women host the show, and we are great mates so there'll be lots of fun to be had on and off the dance floor."

Sir Bruce will return to the Strictly family for the Children in Need and Christmas specials.

Early frontrunners to take over from Sir Bruce included professional Strictly dancer Anton Du Beke and Graham Norton, who later ruled himself out.

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