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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Bruno Tonioli leaves Strictly Come Dancing due to ‘travel conditions’

Bruno Tonioli has confirmed that he has left Strictly Come Dancing because his travel commitments made it “impossible” to continue, but praised his replacement Anton du Beke for doing a “great job” on the judging panel.

The 66-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer has been a judge since the popular BBC One show debuted in 2004.

He announced his departure on The One Show Thursday night, saying he would instead focus on his other role as a judge on Dancing With the Stars, which films at the same time of year in the US.

Tonioli said: “What has happened with Covid, the travel situation is so unpredictable. I used to leave on Sundays and go back on Thursdays to do shows in London.

“It was impossible because the rules had changed, going through the airport was not the same as before, it created a situation that was untenable. I miss it so much.

“Unfortunately Dancing With The Stars has moved to Disney+ which is a big deal. I will be staying there due to travel conditions. ,

In 2020, pandemic travel uncertainty meant Tonioli could only appear via video-link during Sunday night’s results show to give his verdict on performance.

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Anton Du Beke made the panel last year (John Stillwell / PA)

And last year he was replaced by longtime professional dancer Du Beke, who joined the panel along with Craig Ravel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas.

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“I think Anton has done a fantastic job, he deserves to be in that seat… It’s 10 from me, go ahead, make me proud,” Tonioli said.

In a message to the other judges, Tonioli said: “Shirley my love, you’ll be much safer with Anton.

“Don’t worry about Motsy Craig, he’s just jealous because he can’t wear your clothes, Craig is just Craig and behind the scene he’s more fun than me, he’s so nice and cool.

Tonioli said that Strictly fans can still see him at related events such as the post-show Arena Tour, which he was a judge on earlier this year.

“I can tour, I’m not gone forever, don’t count me, I’ll always be a part of the family. We made the show.

“I’m not going anywhere, it’s impossible I can’t do it. Last year the panel was great, they were fantastic, they have my full support, so hopefully we’ll do something else.”

Tonioli joined Strictly with original judges Dame Arlene Phillips, Len Goodman and Ravel Horwood during their first series in 2004.

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Craig Ravel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke during the 2021 show (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Du Beke said he is happy to return to the casting side of the show: “Woohoo! This is brilliant news. Everyone knows how much I love the show and I am extremely happy to continue as a regular judge. And I have to make it to the final again – now I know how Giovanni feels!”

Revel Horwood, who has now become the only remaining original member of the Strictly Judging line-up, said he was “thrilled” to return and added: “It’s going to be fab-you-loos!”.

Head Judge Ballas said: “It’s a great pleasure and honor to be a judge on Strictly, and I can’t wait to be back in the studio waving my paddle.

“Every year the amazing production team gets ahead of themselves and I know they have some great plans for 2022. I’m so excited to start.”

Mabuse took over in 2019 from Dame Darcy Bussel, who has previously been a judge on the German version of Strictly, Let’s Dance.

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

World Nation News Desk
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