Bruno Tonioli leaves Strictly Come Dancing for good, replaced by Anton Du Beke
Bruno Tonioli is leaving Strictly Come Dancing for good, with Anton Du Beke taking over his seat as a judge.
The Italian, who also appears on the US version of the show, has not been on the BBC panel in person for two years because of Covid travel restrictions.
The 66-year-old appeared via video link in the 2020 series of Strictly, while Du Beke took his place last year.
Tonioli’s permanent exit leaves Craig Revel Horwood as the only judge to remain since Strictly’s launch in 2004.
Tonioli’s exuberance and enthusiasm, often jumping to his feet when delivering his verdicts, provided a balance to Revel Horwood’s more strict demeanour, and made him popular with viewers and dancers.
He travelled back and forth between the UK and US to appear on both Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars for 14 years, but that became impossible when the pandemic took hold.
Despite travel restrictions having been eased, Tonioli will not return to the original BBC One show.
That means Du Beke will keep his seat after moving behind the judges’ desk last year following 16 years as one of the show’s professional dancers.
“Everyone knows how much I absolutely love the show and I’m utterly delighted to be continuing as a regular judge,” Du Beke said in a statement.
The next series will also be without two other familiar faces, Aljaž Škorjanec and Oti Mabuse, who have announced their departures as pro dancers.
The show’s 20th series is expected to begin in the autumn.