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Strictly ex-judge Len Goodman calls Anton Du Beke promotion ‘inspired choice’

Ex Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge Len Goodman has given Anton Du Beke his seal of approval following his promotion to judge next series.

It was announced last month that Anton, who has been on the show for the past 16 years as a professional dancer, will be replacing Bruno Tonioli for the 2021 competition.

While it’s not been confirmed that this will be a permanent position, Len – who was on the show from 2004 to 2016 – thinks they couldn’t have chosen a better person for the position.

Speaking to Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, Len said: “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s an inspired choice. He did a couple of weeks, didn’t he, last year. I thought he did an excellent job.

Len Goodman heaped praise on Anton Du Beke as he’s promoted

“And, you know, he’s the only one who’s gone through the process of teaching people to dance, so he knows what he’s up to.”

Kate Garraway, who was partnered with Anton in the fifth series of the show, also said she was happy for her former dance partner.

“He knew what he was up against with me, that’s for sure! He’s never really recovered, I don’t think,” she laughed. “But he’s brilliant.”

Kate Garraway competed with Anton back in 2007

Anton is stepping up to take over after it was decided by the production team that it wouldn’t be safe to allow Bruno to commute between his home in Los Angeles and London each week.

Bruno also judges the US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, and would previously travel to and from the UK in order to be on both panels.

However, due to coronavirus restrictions, he was unable to do so last year, instead dialling in from the States to give his comments on the Sunday night results shows.

Bruno (far right) will be missing from this year’s panel

Running the series with just three judges, Anton stepped in to replace Motsi Mabuse when she was forced to return home to Germany following a break-in at her dance studio, and had to quarantine before being allowed back on set.

Fans immediately loved Anton in the temporary role, and so with Bruno’s travel proving too logistically difficult to keep the set Covid-safe, he was announced as the new judge for 2021.

Anton du Beke
Anton has been on the series for 16 years, joining in the first series and remaining there ever since

His replacement on the dancefloor has not yet been revealed, with fellow pro Janette Manrara also leaving the competition in order to host spin-off series, It Takes Two.

Anton has reportedly trebled his wage to be in the new role.

Speaking on Steph’s Packed Lunch , Anton quipped that he “won’t miss” being eliminated every year, but is delighted to be picked for the prestigious panel, which includes judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse.

He explained: “That is the double edge sword about it. The thing I love most is being the room… It is my favourite place in the whole world and I’m going to miss all of that part of Strictly Come Dancing.

“I feel a bit bereft thinking about it, and I’ll probably get a bit emotional. But I won’t miss getting voted off.

Anton Du Beke and Bruno Tonioli
Bruno and Anton are two of the remaining original stars of Strictly

Bruno Tonioli
Bruno will remain in Los Angeles

“It is the worst feeling in the world whilst watching everyone else have a great time. But at least I’m guaranteed to make the final.”

Since the announcement, Bruno said that he won’t watch Anton in his shoes , saying it would be “too weird” for him to see someone else take over.

The beloved dancing show will return later this year.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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