Confirmed: Sir Bruce Forsyth quits Strictly Come Dancing live shows

Strictly Come Dancing

BBC One has today confirmed that Sir Bruce Forsyth is to step down from his presenting role on the Strictly Come Dancing live shows after ten years.

The veteran entertainer - who has fronted eleven editions of the celebrity talent contest - has decided not to return for the upcoming twelfth main series.

However, Sir Bruce is not retiring completely, and will remain with the BBC to host Strictly's pre-recorded Christmas and Children In Need specials, as well as other one-off specials.

A replacement for the 86-year-old has yet to be announced, but Claudia Winkleman - who took over from him on the results shows in 2010 - is believed to be a prime contender for the job.

Sir Bruce commented: "I believe it is now the right time to step down from the rigours of presenting the Strictly live shows. I am very proud of what the show has achieved and confident it will entertain the nation for many years to come. I am also delighted that by presenting the Christmas and Children in Need shows I will continue to have a strong association with Strictly.

"In addition, I am looking forward to the specials planned with the BBC as well as some live theatre shows, so before anyone asks.... I am not retiring quite yet!"

Mark Linsey, the BBC's Controller of Entertainment Commissioning, said: "One of the joys of my job is working with Sir Bruce Forsyth and long may that continue. He is the all-time master and commander when it comes to Great British entertainers and Strictly owes him such a great deal. This is not a farewell, but you can’t blame him for wanting to take things a little bit easier."

Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, added: "Sir Bruce Forsyth is one of the great showbiz legends of our time and Strictly’s success is due in vast amounts to him. I am so pleased he will continue to be part of the Strictly family and promise viewers that we haven't seen the last of him on BBC One."

The news ends months of speculation about Sir Bruce's future on Strictly, following various reports that he wanted to reduce his workload. The latest came last month, when Moore revealed that she would meet with him to discuss the issue.

Sir Bruce is leaving the show on a high, with its popularity having surged in recent years as ITV rival The X Factor suffered a sharp decline in viewing figures.

Strictly Come Dancing will return for its latest run in the Autumn.

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