Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood said he is “over the moon” that Anton Du Beke is joining the judging panel.
Professional dancer Du Beke will replace Bruno Tonioli on the upcoming series of the BBC One dancing show.
He joins returning judges Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse due to Tonioli being unable to return from the US amid uncertainty over international travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning shortly after Du Beke was confirmed as a judge, Revel Horwood said he was “delighted when Anton got the job, I was over the moon”.
He added: “In fact, I spoke to him on the way to the studio here today and he’s super excited, as we all are. And isn’t it about time, darling? I mean, there is a point in your life where you have to give up the dance shoes and hang them up at some stage, so he deserves it…”.
Watch: Craig Revel Horwood talks COVID and Strictly
The choreographer and dancer, 56, added: “I think it (the decision) had to be made in order to get the show on the road. You know you have to make decisions in advance.
“And when it’s so up in the air, where you’re juggling, you know, there was a lot of juggling with Strictly last year. And really, it’s I think, the best sort of possible solution. You know Bruno’s not out out in that way, he may come back next year, who knows? But I’m so delighted to welcome Anton on to the panel.”
Last year’s Strictly series went ahead without a studio audience due to coronavirus restrictions, but asked by Holly Willoughby if he hoped this year “restrictions would be easier”, he said: “Well, I hope so because then we can have a studio audience… otherwise there’s no one to boo me darling and I missed that… I had to boo myself.”
Known for his brutally honest feedback to celebrity contestants on Strictly, the TV judge was on the receiving end of a panel earlier this year when he took part in ITV’s The Masked Dancer.
He was eliminated during the semi-final of the ITV competition as it was revealed he was Knickerbocker Glory.
He told This Morning: “I don’t like being judged but I thought, I’ve got to put the shoe on the other foot and really put my money where my mouth is.
“And I did it as a challenge really, personally, for me to see, number one, whether I could still dance. And number two, how difficult it is to be judged, and also put yourself on the line and being in that mask was really difficult and everyone will tell you how difficult it is to dance in that weight, it was all-consuming”.
Strictly professional Oti Mabuse, who was on The Masked Dancer panel, correctly guessed Revel Horwood’s identity before he was unmasked.
The 2020 series of Strictly was won by Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse.
Watch: Craig Revel Horwood on filming Strictly in lockdown