Bruno Tonioli has confirmed that he will be leaving Strictly Come Dancing as the final BBC show judging lineup is confirmed.

The 66-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer appeared on BBC's The One Show on Thursday night to speak about the news. 

Tonioli has been a judge since the popular celebrity ballroom show launched in 2004.

Speaking on the One Show, the beloved judge pulled out an iconic '10 paddle of approval, speaking to his replacement Anton Du Beke directly.

He said: "Anton you have done a fantastic job, you deserve it."

When asked if he would ever return, Bruno said: "Never say never, never count me out."

Fans flooded social media with love and admiration for the judge.

One user wrote:" Oh, Bruno, I’ll miss you so much but hopefully you will make a guest appearance at some point. Take care."

While another said: " Bruno will always be a strictly legend and is very funny and a great judge, but I did enjoy Anton on the panel last season. He’s made for it. Plus Bruno is probably getting on a bit for all the flying back and forth to do our strictly and Dancing with the stars. Good move I say!"

A third added: "Gonna miss bruno and his eccentrics, but i really enjoyed anton as a judge and think he was made to do it. gonna admit i saw it coming with bruno also doing DWTS over in the states, but all the luck to him!"

Anton Du Beke to replace Bruno Tonioli as Strictly judge

Hexham Courant: Anton Du Beke. Credit: BBC/PAAnton Du Beke. Credit: BBC/PA

The panel for what will be Strictly's 20th series will feature professional dancer Anton Du Beke, as well as returning favourites Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.

Viewers will remember that Du Beke sat on the judging panel last year when Tonioli, who judges the American series Dancing With The Stars, was unable to take part due to uncertain Covid travel restrictions.

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

Speaking about his new role, the 55-year-old dancer 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!”

Hexham Courant: Craig Revel Horwood. Credit: BBC/PACraig Revel Horwood. Credit: BBC/PA

 

Craig Revel Horwood is now the only remaining original member of the Strictly judging line-up.

He revealed that he was “thrilled” to be returning, adding his trademark phrase: “It’s going to be fab-u-lous!”.

Head judge, Shirley 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.

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“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.”

When asked in September about Du Beke joining the panel, by Hello! Magazine, Ballas commented: “I think he will be just fabulous and I’m sure he’ll approach everything with kindness, because he’s been on the other end of that wagging finger.

Hexham Courant: Shirley Ballas. Credit: BBC/PAShirley Ballas. Credit: BBC/PA

“The public really loves him, and he’s worn his heart on his sleeve about wanting to be an adjudicator for so long, so I am really pleased for him.”

Mabuse took over from Dame Darcey Bussell back 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!”.

Popular hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are also confirmed to return this year.