Anton du Beke: I'd love to replace Darcey Bussell as a judge on Strictly

The show's longest-serving professional partner said he was ‘certainly qualified' for the job.

Anton du Beke has thrown his hat into the ring to replace Dame Darcey Bussell as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

The dancer, who has appeared in every series of the BBC show to date, was a favourite to take over when Len Goodman stepped down at the end of 2016.

Speaking on the Graham Norton show on BBC Radio 2, he said: “I’m certainly qualified. I suspect there will be conversations going on.

“You know how it works in telly. It’s one of those things.

“I’m definitely qualified to do it. I’d love to do it. But then I have to wait to be asked, in the normal way. I wish I could make the decision for them.

“But then if I could do that, I would have made the final 12 times.”

Former ballerina Dame Darcey, 49, announced on Wednesday that she was stepping down after seven years on the panel.

Strictly Come Dancing 2018
Craig Revel-Horwood, Dame Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (BBC/PA)

She said she was leaving to focus on other dance commitments, and that her departure was not due to an “upset or disagreement” on the show.

Joking that “third time’s the charm,” du Beke recalled his disappointment after missing out on Goodman and Sir Bruce Forsyth’s roles.

The professional dancer added: “If I’m blatantly honest with you, when Bruce stepped down I thought, ‘oh I’d love to be asked to do that’.

“I wasn’t convinced I would be asked to, and I was delighted when they asked Claudia because Claudia is part of the family.”

Du Beke, 52, said he had been surprised by Dame Darcey’s decision to step down, describing it as “absolutely out of the blue”.

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