Oti Mabuse and other Strictly Come Dancing professionals have congratulated fellow dancer Anton Du Beke on his new role as a full-time judge on the BBC series.
Du Beke joined the judging panel last year for a two-week stint, but will now become a permanent fixture during the 2021 series, taking over from Bruno Tonioli.
Tonioli, who is in the US and a judge on American series Dancing With The Stars, is unable to take part due to “uncertainty over international travel restrictions” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC said.
In an Instagram post, Mabuse wrote: “He made it! JUDGE @mrantondubeke super proud of you Anton and so happy!
“Feels like positivity is in the air – everyone gets what they’ve wanted and hoped for for years and it’s a beautiful sight to see with the @bbcstrictly first @jmanrara now @mrantondubeke nothing but joy and pride for both of you we will miss you Anton in rehearsals- you were my first ever strictly professional partner but it will be better to see you doing what you love #strictly.”
Strictly dancer Johannes Radebe tweeted: “This is amazing news!!! my oh my we’ll miss our @BrunoTonioli”.
Du Beke 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.”
He joins the returning judging panel of Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas.
Following the announcement, Du Beke tweeted: “I’m so excited! Thrilled to be joining these wonderful judges.”
Tonioli said: “Whilst I am gutted to not be on the show this year, there is one person and one person only that could take my place – it’s just a shame they weren’t available… haha! Darlings I’m kidding, I’m kidding!
“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.”
Du Beke is the longest-serving professional dancer, having been a fixture on the BBC One series since it began, and his celebrity partners over the years have included former home secretary Jacqui Smith, soap star Emma Barton, Good Morning Britain’s Kate Garraway and politician Ann Widdecombe.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Strictly professional Janette Manrara will replace Zoe Ball as host of BBC Two spin-off It Takes Two.
She is to share hosting duties with Rylan Clark-Neal after Ball stood down as the show’s presenter in May after a decade on the programme, having replaced Claudia Winkleman in 2011.
The BBC said further details regarding the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing would be announced in due course.