Anton Du Beke to join Strictly judges for new series

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Anton Du Beke
Image caption,
Anton Du Beke has appeared on every series of Strictly Come Dancing since it began in 2004

Anton Du Beke is to replace Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, the show's producers have announced.

Tonioli, who has been on Strictly since 2004, cannot fly over from the US - where he is a judge on Dancing with the Stars - due to Covid restrictions.

Du Beke, who has danced on the show for 17 years, enjoyed a two-week judging stint during the 2020 series.

He will sit alongside Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas.

Image caption,
Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse have been positioned further apart than usual due to coronavirus restrictions

Du Beke revealed how delighted he was to get the position, saying: "My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno's brogues for the next series of Strictly.

"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."

'Mr Strictly'

The British ballroom and Latin dancer is the only professional dancer to have danced in every series of the popular BBC One show to date - this will be the 19th.

Tonioli, while disappointed to lose out, joked: "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."

Image caption,
Anton Du Beke is pictured alongside previous judges Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli in 2015

Fellow Strictly dancer Oti Mabuse congratulated Du Beke on the news via Instagram, writing: "He made it!"

"Super proud of you Anton and so happy!" she added. "Feels like positivity is in the air - everyone gets what they've wanted and hoped for for years and it's a beautiful sight to see..."

Another dancer on the show, Johannes Radebe tweeted: "This is amazing news!!! my oh my we'll miss our Bruno Tonioli".

Strictly's new professional dancers for 2021 will be announced in due course, and Strictly: It Takes Two returns this autumn, hosted by Janette Manrara, who has recently replaced Zoe Ball as host.

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