Entertainment

Strictly judging line-up for 2022 confirmed as Bruno Tonioli departs

Tonioli has been a fixture on the BBC show since it started in 2004.

Bruno Tonioli has left Strictly Come Dancing and will be replaced on the judging panel by Anton Du Beke, the BBC has said.

The 66-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer has been a judge since the popular celebrity ballroom show launched in 2004.

The panel for the upcoming 20th series of Strictly will feature Du Beke, as well as returning favourites Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Bruno Tonioli has been a Strictly Come Dancing judge since 2004 (BBC/PA)

Professional dancer Du Beke sat on the judging panel last year while Tonioli, who is a judge on American series Dancing With The Stars, was unable to take part due to “uncertainty over international travel restrictions” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020 Du Beke also did a two-week stint filling in on the judging panel.

He said: “Woohooo! This is BRILLIANT news. Everyone knows how much I absolutely love the show and I’m utterly delighted to be continuing as a regular judge. And I get to make the final again – now I know how Giovanni feels!”

Revel Horwood, who now becomes the only remaining original member of the Strictly judging line-up, said he was “thrilled” to be returning and added: “It’s going to be fab-u-lous!”.

Head judge Ballas said: “Being a judge on Strictly is such a joy and honour for me, and I can’t wait to be back at the studio waving my paddle.

“Every year the wonderful production team surpass themselves and I know they have some brilliant plans in store for 2022. I’m so excited to get started.”

Mabuse took over from Dame Darcey Bussell in 2019, having previously been a judge on the German version of Strictly, Let’s Dance.

She said: “Last year’s series of Strictly was one of the highlights of my career, it has had such a real impact which has been incredible to witness. I am so proud to be a part of this show and I am so looking forward to returning for my fourth series!”.

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Len Goodman, left with Craig Revel Horwood, was the original head judge (BBC/PA)

Over the years the Strictly judging panel has had a few changes.

Dame Arlene Phillips was a judge from the show’s first season until 2008 and was then replaced by Alesha Dixon in 2009.

Fan favourite Len Goodman stepped down as head judge in 2016 after 12 years on show, and was replaced by the ‘Queen of Latin’, ballroom dancer Ballas.

Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will also return this year.

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