Strictly Come Dancing fans were send into a flurry of excitement on Friday following claims that Anton Du Beke could be filling in for Motsi Mabuse on the judging panel.
The professional dancer, 54, is reported to be replacing Motsi for two weeks while she self-isolates, after flying to Germany earlier this week for an ‘urgent trip.’
Motsi’s absence was just the latest blow in a chaotic week for Strictly after Nicola Adams and Katya Jones were forced to pull out of the show, after the pro tested positive for COVID-19.
At last! Strictly Come Dancing fans were send into a flurry of excitement on Friday following claims that Anton Du Beke could be filling in for Motsi Mabuse on the judging panel
For years fans have lobbied for Anton to land a job on the Strictly judging panel, given he is the show’s longest serving professional dancer.
This year he was the first pro to be eliminated alongside former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
As reports that Anton could be filling in for Motsi began to surface, fans rushed to social media to share their reaction.
Absent: Judge Motsi Mabuse will be absent from the judging panel for two weeks after jetting to Germany for an ‘urgent trip’, meaning she has to self-isolate
One wrote: ‘ANTON SHOULD FILL IN FOR MOTSI!!! RT if you agree!!’ while another added: ‘(will they let Anton judge this weekend do we reckon?)
A third posted: ‘That would be a great idea.’
Responding to reports that Anton could be joining the panel, one fan posted: ‘VERY pleased to see Anton replacing Motsi – self isolating – on the judging panel, he’ll be fantastic! Can he replace Bruno permanently, please?’
While one also wrote: ‘Yes!! About time!’
Giddy: As reports that Anton could be filling in for Motsi began to surface, fans rushed to social media to share their reaction
Last year it was reported that Anton had threatened to quit the show after missing out landing a job in the judging panel in favour of South African dancer Motsi.
Reports claimed Anton felt he was a natural fit for the job following Darcey Bussell’s departure last year.
A source told The Sun at the time: ‘He felt if they recruited within the Strictly family, it should be him. And despite not doing a screen test for the role, he still really thought he had a chance.’
The source added: ‘So when the news broke that Motsi was the new judge, he was livid. And he claimed he would quit unless the Strictly bosses gave him an ”enhanced” position.
‘It was a real snub to his pride, especially as this is the second time he’s been overlooked.’
On Thursday Motsi announced she would absent from the show for two weeks while she quarantined after returning home from Germany, but would be making a virtual appearance from her home.
According to The Sun, bosses are planning to give Anton his time to shine in the judging seat after 16-years on the show, but the final decision is yet to be made.
The BBC told MailOnline: ‘Motsi will feature virtually in this weekend’s show. Further information on this weekend’s judging panel will be announced in due course.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Anton Du Beke for comment.
Motsi took to Instagram on Thursday to tell fans she would not join Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel-Horwood at the studios on Saturday, after having to travel back to Germany for an ‘urgent trip’.
She wrote:: ‘Hi Guys- earlier this week I needed to travel to Germany for an urgent reason. I will of course be following the UK Government guidelines and self-isolating for 14 days.
‘I’ll be watching from home and by the power of technology, should be in your living rooms. Watch out though, I’ll be doing my own hair and make-up!’
Images emerged showing Motsi, sister of professional dancer Oti, at Heathrow at 1.30pm on Tuesday, carrying a suitcase and holding a negative coronavirus test.
UK lockdown rules prohibit international travel except in ‘limited circumstances such as for work or for education’.
Guidelines say ‘people who live outside the UK but work in the UK and travel between their country of residence and the UK at least once a week’ do not have to isolate.
The judge’s announcement comes hours after Katya, 31, was stunned to learn she’s tested positive as she didn’t display any symptoms, and told bosses that she hasn’t been mixing with others as she lives alone and has been training for up to 14 hours a day.
A source close to Nicola told MailOnline: ‘She’s hoping her Strictly dream is not over.
‘There’s lots of hurdles to overcome but if it’s possible she can compete with Katya in the 2021 series, Nicola will want to make it happen.’
While the Strictly cast have been in social bubbles, they are allowed to continue their daily business as normal, so this news has cast doubt on whether bosses will tighten rules on what couples can do between filming.
A Strictly representative confirmed to MailOnline that bosses are not launching an investigation into how Katya contracted the virus as there is no way to indicate where she may have caught it.
They added that as the dancer lives alone and has only been leaving her house to train, she hasn’t been socialising with others.
It is understood that a number of crew members have also been forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with Katya. But the rest of the cast are said to be unaffected and the live show will go ahead this Saturday night, the BBC said.
This also means that the Strictly final next month will feature just four couples instead of the planned five.
How is Strictly 2020 going ahead during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Strictly Come Dancing has introduced an array of strict measures to ensure the new series can go ahead during the COVID-19 crisis.
Celebrity contestants and their professional partners are tested regularly, with cast and crew told to isolate should they contract the virus.
Bosses have already confirmed any celebrity that tests positive once the series begins will be dropped from the show, with reports saying there are celebrities on stand-by.
The professional dancers have already pre-recorded their group performances after isolating together in a hotel.
It’s also been claimed that celebrities and pros will be axed from the show if they are caught kissing during filming.
Strictly 2020 has also seen the series run shortened to just nine weeks, with 12 celebrities taking part instead of the usual 15.
The show’s annual trip to Blackpool has been cancelled, along with this year’s Halloween and Christmas specials.
Only three judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse – will be in the studio with separate rostrums, after Bruno Tonioli was unable to appear due to travel concerns.
Veteran judge Bruno has said he will be ‘involved remotely’ and hopes to return full-time towards the end of the series as he is filming the US version of the show in Los Angeles.
With limited studio crew, big sets may not be built – so producers will use augmented reality, which adds computer-generated elements.
To ensure the contestants can work closely with their partners, they will ‘bubble up’ to train, along with being tested regularly.
Strictly will still feature a live audience, however fans will sit in groups on separate tables, and will only attend if from the same household or bubble.