Strictly Come Dancing reveals Bruno Tonioli is replaced by Anton Du Beke as BBC confirms 2021 judges

STRICTLY Come Dancing has revealed Bruno Tonioli has been replaced by Anton Du Beke.

The professional dancer, 54, has been confirmed as a judge on the upcoming 2021 series after a successful stint filling in last year.

He'll join returning Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse on the judging panel.

Anton joined Strictly during its first series and is the only professional dancer to have danced in every series to date.

Announcing he's swapping the dance floor for a seat at the judges' table, Anton said it was a "dream come true".

“My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues for the next series of Strictly," he said.

"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, 65, was forced to miss last series because of the coronavirus travel restrictions as crossing the Atlantic proved too problematic. 

Ahead of the show's return this autumn, Bruno has pulled out of returning as a judge.

He has been a fixture on Strictly since 2004 but is over in America working on Dancing with the Stars.

Taking a cheeky swipe at his replacement, Bruno 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! 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.”

This week head judge Shirley, 60, voiced her fears about Covid restrictions preventing Bruno from returning to the UK.

Speaking on GB News, Shirley said: "I do believe that Motsi is back, Bruno they are still deciding depending on the rules flying in and flying out. I know Bruno, if he can make it he will."

But Shirley insisted that many of the elements that had to be shelved last year because of Covid restrictions would be coming back.

She said she was determined to be on the panel despite still suffering from tiredness as a result of having Covid in March and the discovery of a lump in her shoulder which could potentially be cancerous.

Shirley said: "Be prepared for 13 weeks of pure joy there will be some tweaks here and there and the line up sounds like it's going to be absolutely off the chart.

"Just when you think it couldn't get any better it does and Sarah our exec just goes for it and she just finds all sorts of different things that are going to entertain the people in the autumn winter months so we are very very excited."

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