Bruno Tonioli has insisted that it would have been "too risky" for him to agree to return to Strictly Come Dancing this year even though travel restrictions are starting to loosen up.
The veteran judge has been replaced on the panel by Anton Du Beke this year after he decided to commit to Dancing With The Stars in the US for the second year running.
Normally Tonioli travels to and from the US and UK every week in the autumn, with Strictly filming on Saturdays and DWTS being recorded midweek in LA.
Last year a blanket travel ban was in place, meaning that Tonioli was only able to appear on Strictly via video link, and even though the UK is now welcoming travellers from the US without quarantine, he believes that there would be too much potential for things to go wrong if he did try to do both shows.
"All it takes is somebody changes the rule and they are without a judge," he told PA. "It is too risky until things are back to normal and they say, 'Everyone vaccinated can go backwards and forwards – no restrictions, no quarantine, then it may be possible'.
"But there aren't enough planes as well. There used to be three flights a day so if for some reason there is a problem you are put on the next one.
"But when you have these big shows, they don't want to take the risk. I understand."
Strictly returns to BBC One for its new series next month.