BBC bosses are split over dumping temporary Strictly judge Anton Du Beke as Bruno Tonioli bids to waltz back to panel after standing down due to Covid restrictions
Du Beke was brought in as a judge on a temporary basis after Tonioli stood down from the role because Covid restrictions meant he could not appear both on the show and its US version, Dancing With The Stars.
He had previously flown between Los Angeles and England for the two programmes.
Sources at the BBC say that his decision to choose the role in the States, which is understood to pay him in the region of £800,000 rather than the £250,000 he was getting for his Strictly duties, means that some chiefs think their loyalty should lie with Du Beke.
Anton Du Beke was brought in as a judge on a temporary basis after Tonioli stood down from the role
They also fear that Anton might quit the show, which he has appeared on as a professional dancer since its inception, if he is axed from the judging panel.
However, others view Tonioli as a Strictly superstar who is both adored and missed by the show’s ten million viewers.
An insider told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The BBC are in a real quandary here. Anton has been so loved and such a pro, so it seems wrong to get rid of him. It seems disloyal, but then it was Bruno’s job.
‘It would be going a bit far to suggest there is a row going on, but there is certainly much divided opinion over what they want for next year’s show.’
Others view Tonioli as a Strictly superstar who is both adored and missed by the show’s ten million viewers
Tonioli, 66, who was on the Strictly panel since the show launched in 2004, has been selected to be a judge on the show’s tour which starts early next year.
He will line up alongside Craig Revel Horwood and head judge Shirley Ballas.
Some suggest that the move could be a ‘sweetener’ for Tonioli so they don’t have to invite him back and ditch Du Beke, but others think it is a way of lining up his return.
Du Beke, 55, the only remaining member of the original 2004 Strictly troupe, yesterday revealed how much he prefers to be a judge as it means he can spend more time with his four-year-old twins, Henrietta and George.
He said: ‘That is one of the plus sides of the role, that I’ve been afforded more time at home. Because I only ever do Saturdays, I’m just doing the weekends.
‘What also is lovely is, I go on the school run in the morning, or I pick up in the afternoon, whatever it is, and the other children come up to me and they say ‘I saw you on the dancing. I saw you on the dancing’.’
Last year The MoS revealed how Tonioli earned £33,000 per minute from the BBC after it was agreed that he would appear via video link from LA because he could not make it back to be in the studio.
He was only seen or heard for three minutes 46 seconds despite being paid £125,000.
A (nearly) perfect rose!
Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice, below, wowed the Strictly judges last night to win 39 points out of 40.
Their American Smooth dance to This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole took them joint top of the leaderboard with BBC presenter Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu.
Judge Shirley Ballas told Ms Ayling-Ellis, who is deaf, that she ‘had beautiful footwork’.
Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice, below, wowed the Strictly judges last night to win 39 points out of 40