Strictly Come Dancing: Anton du Beke quits as dancer after 17 years to become a judge

24 June 2021, 10:22

Anton Du Beke talks about his hero and friend, the late Bruce Forsyth

By Tom Eames

It's been a long time coming, but Anton du Beke is finally a Strictly Come Dancing judge.

Strictly Come Dancing will be returning to our screens later this year, with its 19th series confirming its judging panel.

Returning to the judging panel once more are acid tongued Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas.

But in a twist to this year's series, Strictly’s longest serving professional dancer Anton Du Beke will be joining them on the judges desk for the entire series.

Last year, Anton enjoyed a two-week stint as judge while Motsi was self-isolating during the 2020 series.

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Due to the ongoing travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, longtime judge Bruno Tonioli, who has been on the show since 2004, will be unable to take part this year.

Anton Du Beke joined Strictly for its first series back in 2004, and is the only professional dancer to have appeared in every single series so far.

Anton du Beke
Anton du Beke. Picture: BBC

He 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 Tonioli added: “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.”

Strictly is expected to return as usual in September, following last year's stripped back series which saw Bill Bailey lift the glitterball trophy.