Strictly Come Dancing fans were rather surprised to hear that Dame Darcey Bussell has stepped down as a judge on the show.
The professional ballerina originally joined Strictly Come Dancing as a fifth judge in the final stages of the 2009 series, and she then returned to the show in 2012 as a permanent judge.
However, it turns out that season 16 would be her last and fans are now desperate to know who’ll take her place.
One of the names in the mix is professional dancer, Anton Du Beke, and it’s been reported that he’s the cast and crew’s favourite for the job.
A source told The Sun: “Loveable Anton is the cast’s favourite choice to take over from Darcey as judge.
“Some on the show believe it’s time for him to hang up his dancing shoes and sit on the other side of the table.
“Anton is a well-loved professional, but it’s felt by many that his glory years are over.
“He’s often placed with the novelty act and has no chance of getting near the Glitter Ball.
“He isn’t a real contender any more,” finished the source.
The 52-year-old dancer has been on the show since the very beginning, and he’s become a firm fan-favourite.
However, he never managed to be placed any higher than third position which he achieved on the first series with Lesley Garrett.
However, he has come fourth twice with Laila Rouass and Katie Derham.
Anton had auditioned to replace Len Goodman as head judge before Shirley Ballas, 58, got the job.
Meanwhile, Craig Revel Horwood recently admitted that he was shocked at Bussell’s decision to leave the show, yet he did reveal that she “doesn’t need it”.
The choreographer also blasted reports she left due to a pay rise snub and fallout with fellow judge Bruno Tonioli.
Commenting on claims Shirley Ballas, 58, and Bruno, 63, made more than he and Darcey, he said: “That’s absolute rubbish. It depends what else you do for the BBC.
“The same was said about Len [Goodman] and Bruno earning more than Darcey and I. That was because Len did that dreadful Partners in Rhyme show. Darcey and I are absolutely fine.”
Of her alleged rift with Bruno, he joked: “His theatricals annoy everyone, darling, not just Darcey.”
Speaking in an interview with The Mirror, the 54-year-old professional dancer revealed he had reached out to Darcey privately after the news of her departure was made public, saying: “I’ve sent her a private message – unlike everyone else who sends their condolences as though she’s dead! Which makes me laugh.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for comment.
Strictly Come Dancing returns later this year to BBC One.
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