Bruno Tonioli will miss this year’s Strictly Come Dancing for the second year running as covid-19 travel restrictions mean he cannot fly back and forth between the UK and the US like he used to.
Last month it was revealed he’d be replaced by Anton Du Beke—who has been a professional dancer on the show since it began in 2004.
And now Bruno has claimed Anton was “desperate” to bag a role on the judging panel and revealed none of his fellow judges have been in touch since it was confirmed he would be forced to skip another year.
“I am so sad and frustrated, but there is nothing anyone can do,” Bruno told the Sun on Sunday.
“Anton was the obvious choice to replace me. I was never asked my opinion, but I wasn’t surprised. He was desperate to get that judging role, so I’m sure he is delighted.”
He joked, “‘Good for him. He needs the money.”
On whether his fellow judges, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas, have been in touch, Bruno confessed, “I haven’t heard from them. But I’m not going to cry, we all have very separate lives.”
Despite his playful comments, Bruno said he can’t think of anyone better to take over than Anton.
“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,” he confessed.
Although Bruno did joke he won’t be watching as it’s too “difficult” to watch someone in his seat. “Watching Anton would be not fair. It’d be weird, like watching an ex with someone new — you just get on with it honey.”
Anton said the opportunity to temporarily step up as a judge is a “dream come true” after it was revealed last month.
He said, “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.”
It comes after Oti Mabuse revealed she’ll be quitting Strictly after this year.