The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 live shows finally kick off tonight (September 25), and viewers will get to see what the celebrities and their professional dance partners have been working on.
The Strictly line-up consists of famous faces from every aspect of showbiz – McFly’s Tom Fletcher to comedian Judi Love.
Strictly 2021 is also making history as the first season to have an all male partnership – with Johannes Radebe and Bake Off’s John Whaite partnered up.
This year we will also see the return of the much-loved Strictly judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas.
But viewers will notice that one well-known face is missing – Bruno Tonioli.
Long-standing judge Bruno, who has been a fixture on Strictly since 2004, will not be returning for 2021.
He has been replaced by former Strictly pro Anton Du Beke – but why?
Why has Bruno Tonioli been replaced on Strictly?
Bruno will not be appearing on the BBC show this year due to the uncertainty around travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He spends a lot of his time in the United States, where he appears as a judge on Dancing With The Stars.
Dancing With the Stars, which has a similar format to Strictly, is currently airing its 30th series.
Travel restrictions between the US and UK are very strict – even though this is due to change soon.
It was eventually decided that Anton, who stepped in Bruno’s shoes during the 2020 season of Strictly too, would become a full-time judge.
Speaking about his new role, Anton 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.”
Bruno also showed his support for Anton, saying in a statement: “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.”
Anton isn’t the only professional dancer to change roles this season. His colleague Janette Manrara will take over from Zoe Ball as host of spin-off It Takes Two on BBC2 alongside Rylan Clark-Neal.