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Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood is ‘over the moon’ Anton Du Beke will be a judge on series 19

Craig Revel Horwood claimed he is ‘over the moon’ that Anton Du Beke has been named judge Bruno Tonioli’s replacement on the series 19 panel.

The Strictly Come Dancing judge, 56, revealed he’s ‘delighted’ to be welcoming the BBC show’s longest-serving pro dancer to the panel after 17 years on the ballroom floor and also claimed it was time for the dancer, 54, to ‘give up the dance shoes’,.

Speaking on Thursday’s edition of This Morning, Craig said of Bruno: ‘We were talking about whether he is going to be able to fly backwards and forwards [from his LA home]. And of course he can’t. It’s just too risky I think at the moment.

Honest: Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood said on Thursday he was ‘over the moon’ that Anton Du Beke will be a judge on series 19 as he claimed it was time for him to ‘give up the dance shoes’

‘So delighted when Anton got the job, I was over the moon. In fact I spoke to him on the way to the studio here today and he’s super excited, as we all are.

‘And isn’t it about time, darling? I mean there is a point in your life where you have to give up the dance shoes and hang them up at some stage. So he deserves it, and he’s great.’

And when Holly Willoughby pointed out that Anton ‘knows the show inside out’, Craig agreed and added: ‘Well of course! He’s original.’

However, Craig stressed that the change for this year doesn’t mean Bruno – who has featured on the programme since its launch in 2004 – is on his way ‘out’ permanently.

Exciting: Earlier in the day, Anton was named judge Bruno Tonioli's replacement as he can't take part due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions caused by COVID-19

Exciting: Earlier in the day, Anton was named judge Bruno Tonioli’s replacement as he can’t take part due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions caused by COVID-19

Happy for him: Craig said, 'I was over the moon. In fact I spoke to him on the way to the studio here today and he's super excited, as we all are. 'And isn't it about time, darling?'

Happy for him: Craig said, ‘I was over the moon. In fact I spoke to him on the way to the studio here today and he’s super excited, as we all are. ‘And isn’t it about time, darling?’

Candid: Craig added,'I mean there is a point in your life where you have to give up the dance shoes and hang them up at some stage. So he deserves it, and he's great'

Candid: Craig added,’I mean there is a point in your life where you have to give up the dance shoes and hang them up at some stage. So he deserves it, and he’s great’

He said: ‘You know, Bruno’s not “out” out in that way, he may come back next year, who knows? But I’m so delighted to welcome Anton onto the panel.’ 

The BBC confirmed Bruno, who is the longest-serving pro dancer on the show, will make the step up to a judging seat this year for the entire series following a successful two-week stint as a panellist last year.

He will replace Tonioli, who will not be able to take part in the 19th series due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Promotion: The BBC confirmed Bruno, who is the longest-serving pro dancer on the show, will make the step up to a judging seat this year for the entire series

Promotion: The BBC confirmed Bruno, who is the longest-serving pro dancer on the show, will make the step up to a judging seat this year for the entire series 

Anton, who will join returning judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, and Craig Revel Horwood, 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.’

The announcement was made via the official BBC Strictly account, as dazzling portraits of the judges were shared alongside the words: ‘It’s the judges!…

‘Please welcome back to Strictly, Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse AND Anton Du Beke, who’ll be stepping into Bruno Tonioli’s shoes for 2021!’

Happy days: Anton had a successful two-week stint as a panellist last year (pictured)

 Happy days: Anton had a successful two-week stint as a panellist last year (pictured)

Happy days: Bruno - who has been a 'Strictly' judge since 2004 - is 'gutted' about missing this year's show, but he is 'so excited' to see Anton on the programme (Bruno, pictured in 2019)

Happy days: Bruno – who has been a ‘Strictly’ judge since 2004 – is ‘gutted’ about missing this year’s show, but he is ‘so excited’ to see Anton on the programme (Bruno, pictured in 2019)

Bruno – who has been a ‘Strictly’ judge since 2004 – is ‘gutted’ about missing this year’s show, but he is ‘so excited’ to see Anton on the programme.

ANTON’S PARTNERS AND PLACEMENTS  

SERIES 1 – Lesley Garrett 3rd 

SERIES 2 – Esther Rantzen 8th 

SERIES 3 – Patsy Palmer 5th 

SERIES 4 – Jan Ravens 9th 

SERIES 5 – Kate Garraway 8th 

SERIES 6 – Gillian Taylforth 15th

SERIES 7 – Laila Rouass 4th 

SERIES 8 – Ann Widdecombe 6th 

SERIES 9 – Nancy Dell’Olio 11th 

SERIES 10 – Jerry Hall 13th 

SERIES 11 – Fiona Fullerton 9th

SERIES 12 – Judy Murray 9th 

SERIES 13 – Katie Derham 4th  

SERIES 14 – Lesley Joseph 11th  

SERIES 15 – Ruth Langsford 9th 

SERIES 16 – Susannah Constantine 15th  

SERIES 17 – Emma Barton 2nd

SERIES 18 – Jacqui Smith 12th  

He 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 … ha ha.

‘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.’

Anton will bring a lot of experience to the panel after he joined ‘Strictly’ during its first series, and he is the only pro dancer to have danced in every series to date. 

While he has performed in all 18 series, Anton has sadly never walked away victorious. 

The highest place he has scored was coming in second with Emma Barton in 2019. 

His second highest was in 2004’s inaugural season, where he came in third with Lesley Garrett.

Anton’s appearance as judge last year won rave reviews as he stood in for Bruno and Motsi. 

He proved to be a hit with viewers after he stood in for the South African dancer, who was isolating for 14 days, after rushing home to Germany due to her dance school being ‘targeted’.

Viewers called for Anton to become a permanent judge on the show. The Mail On Sunday reported at the time that Anton hopes his role on the panel on Saturday night could lead to a full-time position.

Friends of Anton say he has been eager ‘for quite some time’ to have a judging role and has been disappointed when outsiders have been brought in.

One friend told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This is a dream come true for Anton. For many years now he has fancied the role but has been beaten to it when the likes of Motsi and before that Shirley Ballas were brought in.

‘He has been a trouper for Strictly, he has been given some less-than-able celebrities to dance with over the years and never complains.’ 

Here they are! The announcement was made via the official BBC Strictly account, as dazzling portraits of the judges were shared alongside the words: 'It¿s the judges!'

Here they are! The announcement was made via the official BBC Strictly account, as dazzling portraits of the judges were shared alongside the words: ‘It’s the judges!’

Happy days: One friend told The Mail on Sunday: 'This is a dream come true for Anton. For many years now he has fancied the role but has been beaten to it when the likes of Motsi and before that Shirley Ballas were brought in'

Happy days: One friend told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This is a dream come true for Anton. For many years now he has fancied the role but has been beaten to it when the likes of Motsi and before that Shirley Ballas were brought in’


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