Bruno Tonioli ‘axed from Strictly with Anton du Beke set to return as judge’

Anton Du Beke is reportedly lined up to takeover from Bruno Tonioli on Strictly Come Dancing permanently.

Professional dancer Anton joined the Strictly panel for 2021, taking the place of Bruno who could not appear due to travel and quarantine restrictions.

Anton appeared alongside head judge Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse on the panel and has proved a hit with viewers.

As yet the BBC has not confirmed its plans going forward with rumours that Bruno could not return.

A source told The Sun this weekend that Anton was set to stay behind the judges’ desk for 2022.

“We have been told Anton’s contract as a judge is going to be renewed. The bosses were really happy with his performance,” a source shared.

They added: “Bruno has been an integral part of Strictly for more than a decade, and there is a huge amount of affection for him from those on the show.”

The BBC has declined to comment on the speculation with an official announcement about the panel still to be made.

Speaking last year on first joining the show, Anton said: “My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues for the next series of Strictly.”

Having been a pro since the very first series, he added: “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.”

Meanwhile Bruno admitted he didn’t know if he’ll be back this year.

In an interview in 2021, he said: “It’s totally up to them. If there’s no Covid and they want me, I’ll be back. But they may say, ‘Anton was great, we don’t need you’”

Bruno continued: “I’ll do something else. It’s like James Bond actors, I’ve done my stint. You cannot be desperate, if you start down that path you’ll go insane. I won’t be second best.

“I worked my butt off for a very long time and I wouldn’t do anything if I didn’t feel comfortable. I’m not one for compromise.”

Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One.