Britain’s Got Talent has announced Bruno Tonioli as its newest judge.
“Here we are, Britain’s Got Talent. I am so excited. It’s my first show, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant,” Tonioli said in a statement ahead of the show’s 16th series.
The former Strictly Come Dancing judge will replace comedy star David Walliams on the panel. Meanwhile, Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon will be returning to their judging posts, as will Ant and Dec as presenters.
The news was apparently leaked to Twitter hours before ITV’s official announcement. A video from the Britain’s Got Talent auditions showed Tonioli being introduced for the first time and giving a short speech.
“Thank you very, very much,” Tonioli told the audience.
“I am thrilled to be here. Look at these girls [Holden and Dixon], they’re stunning and it’s my old friend Simon [Cowell]. What an honour it is to work with you finally. He’s teased me with this for years, years and years and years. I tell you honestly I’m thrilled to be here and very, very nervous.”
The news of Walliams’s replacement comes months after a leaked set recording from 2020 heard the actor and author making sexually explicit comments about a BGT contestant.
A transcript obtained by The Guardian allegedly revealed that Walliams, 51, described a woman as being like “the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f*** them, but you don’t”.
Walliams apologised at the time, telling The Independent: “I would like to apologise to the people I made disrespectful comments about during breaks in filming for Britain’s Got Talent in 2020. These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry.”
A spokesperson for BGT production company Thames TV said: “Although relating to a private conversation almost three years ago, the language used was inappropriate. Even though it was private, those involved have been spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities and the show’s expectations as to future professional conduct.”