Strictly Come Dancing favourite Bruno Tonioli ‘axed’ from show in judging shake-up

Anton Du Beke reveals whether he will return to Strictly

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In 2021, Strictly Come Dancing saw professional dancer Anton Du Beke hang up his dancing shoes and take his place at the judging panel alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse. Anton replaced long-standing judge Bruno Tonioli as coronavirus restrictions which were still in place, prevented him from travelling to the UK. However, BBC bosses could be set to keep Anton firmly in his chair.

Bruno, who has been a judge on the show for 16 years, was expected to return to the show after Craig gave his support by casting him on the live tour.

However, BBC bosses allegedly decided to keep Anton firmly in his newly claimed seat.

According to The Sun, a BBC source revealed: “We have been told Anton’s contract as a judge is going to be renewed. The bosses were really happy with his performance.

“It also hasn’t escaped their notice his salary is considerably lower than Bruno’s.

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“Bruno has been an integral part of Strictly for more than a decade, and there is a huge amount of affection for him from those on the show.

“This decision will ruffle some feathers, not least with Craig, who has been a very, very vocal advocate for welcoming Bruno back. But the bosses’ attitude is, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.”

Bruno, who is currently a judge on Dancing With The Stars US, told The Sun on Sunday he was “sad and frustrated” not to be asked back onto the UK show.

The Italian poked fun at Anton replacing him and said: “Good for him. He needs the money.

“If they want me, I’ll be back. But they may say, ‘Anton was great, we don’t need you’.”

He revealed he was “delighted” to be reunited alongside his fellow judges for this year’s tour, which set off early this year.

Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for a statement, however they declined to give one. 

Anton returned to the show in 2021 as a judge for the first time after establishing himself as a long-term favourite.

He recently opened up about his time on the show to Sunday Brunch hosts Simon Rimmer and Tim Lovejoy, saying he had “done it all”.

“I’ve done everything from getting voted off in the first round to making it all the way to the final.

“I’ve tried every trick in the book, as well, to get something out there on a Saturday night with my partner.

“So, you know, I’ve done it all – and I know if somebody’s taken quite a long time to walk down the stairs, it’s because they’re trying to use up a bit of time.”

Reflecting on his first time as a judge, he said: “When the lights went on, on our first night, we didn’t move for about eight minutes.

“Everyone was delighted and thrilled to be back in the room… I couldn’t take my first few steps.

“I loved the volatility of the leaderboard this year, it was really brilliant for that. Every week was going to be an event.”

Strictly Come Dancing series 19 is available to watch on BBC iPlayer and the new series will air later this year.

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