Strictly Come Dancing came back with a bang with an impressive first live show, but presenter Tess Daly and viewers were missing judge Bruno Tonioli.
The larger-than-life Italian judge couldn’t make the new series due to Covid restrictions, so was replaced on the panel by dancer Anton Du Beke.
Ahead of the show, Tess admitted she would miss Bruno’s presence who was a big part of the show since 2004.
Bruno lives in LA, and the 65-year-old appeared via video link on Sunday nights for 2020.
However, this year he won’t be appearing at all, and Tess explained: “Bruno will be missed of course, but he is staying in America as he can’t travel due to restrictions.”
She was keen to praise Anton too for the experience he brings: “Anton is a brilliant addition to the judging panel.
“He brings experience as, after all, he has stood in the shoes of the professionals with a celebrity dance partner.”
She added: “I think he will be really constructive with his feedback. I love him to bits and I’m thrilled to have him there.
Bruno being Bruno had to make a joke about his replacement on the show when it was announced earlier this year.
He quipped: “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!” he laughed.
“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.”
Anton made quite the impression on Saturday night, and fans loved his ballroom advice.
He said he missed the dancefloor after watching Greg Wise dance wearing a top hat and cane.
One fan wrote: “I am no longer watching Strictly without Bruno. It’s just not the same. Bruno brought high class and elegance to the show.”
Another simply added: “Still missing Bruno.”
“I love Anton but it’s not the same without Bruno” added another.
Fans will have to wait until next week for somebody to go home.
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