Anton Du Beke is replacing Bruno Tolioni as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing
Strictly Come Dancing’s longest serving professional dancer, Anton Du Beke is to replace judge Bruno Tonioli on this year’s series.
BBC producers confirmed Du Beke’s appointment, as he revealed he is “thrilled” to be “stepping into Bruno's brogues”.
So, who is Anton Du Beke, why is Bruno not on the show this year - and when will Strictly’s 19th season commence? This is what you need to know.
Who is Anton Du Beke?
Du Beke was born in 1966 and grew up in Kent, one of three children born to a Hungarian father and Spanish mother.
Du Beke’s father was abusive and the pair became estranged as Du Beke became an adult.
At the age of 10, he started amateur dance lessons at the Holton School of Dancing in Sevenoaks.
He took his first dance exam at the age of 12 and when he was 16 years old, he left school to become an amateur dancer while also working as a salesman at ‘The Bed Post’ in South London.
Du Beke went on to become a professional dancer, His professional dance partner since 1997 has been Erin Boag.
In 2004, he joined the professional line up for BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing. Despite being the only dancer to perform on every series of the show since it began, he has never won it.
The highest placing he has scored is third, in the first series, with soprano Leslie Garrett. His worst placing was in series six and 16, with actress Gillian Taylford and fashion guru Susannah Constantine respectively.
Also included in his partners are Patsy Palmer, former Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe and British tennis coach Judy Murray.
Du Beke is married to his wife Hannah Summer and they have two children - twins George and Henrietta, born in March 2017. They currently live in Buckinghamshire.
Why is he replacing Bruno Tolioni on Strictly Come Dancing?
Fan favourite Bruno will not feature on the 2021 series of the show, he did not feature on the 2020 series either.
This is due to the ongoing travel restrictions caused by the Covid pandemic - he cannot fly over from judging Dancing with the Stars the US to be on the BBC show.
Du Beke has already had a feel for judging, as he enjoyed a two-week judging stint during the 2020 series.
He will now join current judges Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas for the entire 2021 series.
Du Beke revealed it was a dream of his to become a judge, saying: "My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno's brogues for the next series of Strictly.
"It's a dream come true to be judging alongside the best of the best and I promise to be kinder to all the couples than any of them have ever been to me."
Tonioli was quick to make a joke about his replacement, but welcomed Du Beke as his replacement, referring to him as ‘Mr Strictly’.
Tonioli said: "Whilst I am gutted to not be on the show this year, there is one person and one person only that could take my place - it's just a shame they weren't available...haha! Darlings I'm kidding, I'm kidding!
"Seriously though, I have to tell you, Anton is Mr Strictly and if anybody is filling in for me, it has to be him. I honestly wouldn't have it any other way and I am so excited to see him waggle his paddle."
Strictly dancer and sister of Motsi, Oti Mabuse, responded to the news on Instagram by posting: "He made it! Super proud of you Anton and so happy!”
"Feels like positivity is in the air - everyone gets what they've wanted and hoped for for years and it's a beautiful sight to see,” she added.
When is Strictly Come Dancing back on television?
Strictly will return to BBC One for the nineteenth season in the Autumn, a date has not yet been confirmed.
While this year’s judges and hosts have been confirmed - including Janette Manrara replacing Zoe Ball on ‘It Takes Two’ - the celebs who will compete in the series have yet to be announced.