Strictly’s Anton Du Beke signed up as full-time judge to replace Bruno Tonioli

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Anton Du Beke will replace Bruno Tonioli on this year's Strictly Come Dancing, as the regular judge is unable to take part in the series.

The 54-year-old has been a pro dancer on the show since it began in 2004, and recently many fans have pushed for him to become a judge.

Speaking of his new role, the dad-of-two said: "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.”

Bruno is sadly unable to take part in the 2021 series – but it sounds like he's happy for Anton to take over.

The 65-year-old said: "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!

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"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.”

Last year, due to Covid restrictions and guidelines, Bruno could not physically join the judging panel as he was in the US filming Dancing with the Stars – however he did appear virtually.

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The news of Anton ditching the dancing to become a judge is another change in line-up before the show has even started.

Earlier this year, it was announced that spin-off show It Takes Two host Zoe Ball was stepping down.

However they decided to keep it in the family with her replacement, as pro dancer Janette Manrara stepped into her shoes.

Meanwhile, Oti Mabuse – who has won the two most recent series – announced that the 2021 series would be her last as a professional.

In 2019 she stormed the competition with former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher, while she and comedian Bill Bailey hot-stepped their way to the top in 2020.

Anton – who was a judge for two weeks in the 2020 series – will join returning judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas.

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He is the only dancer to have performed in every series which has aired to date, so he's certainly fit to judge the new batch of celebs taking to the ballroom.

Despite dancing in every series, Anton has never won with any of his celebrity partners – though he has made it to the finale before.

Back in the first series, he and his partner Lesley Garrett came out in third place.

In 2015, for series 13, he and his partner Katie Derham were the fourth place finalists.

He got his highest placing outcome in 2019, dancing his way to the runner-up position with EastEnders actress Emma Barton.

  • BBC
  • Strictly Come Dancing

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