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Bruno Tonioli to be dropped for Strictly Come Dancing 2021?

Bruno Tonioli to be dropped for Strictly Come Dancing 2021?
© BBC
Bruno Tonioli could reportedly be replaced by Anton Du Beke for this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing if coronavirus travel restrictions remain in place later in the year.

Bruno Tonioli could reportedly be absent again from the judging panel on this year's edition of Strictly Come Dancing.

The veteran dancer, who has been a judge on the show since it began 17 years ago, was unable to take part in the 2020 series in person as he was in the US filming Dancing With The Stars.

The 65-year-old normally films both shows at the same time each Autumn by taking weekly trips across the Atlantic but coronavirus travel restrictions made that impossible last year.

Instead Tonioli appeared by video link in the Sunday night results show and still managed to pocket £125,000 - around half his usual pay packet - for around 5 minutes of screen time per week.

According to the Daily Mail, producers are "fearful" that they could end up in a similar predicament this year and rather than commit to paying Tonioli, they are considering bringing in Anton Du Beke as his replacement.

"This time last year Bruno had been signed up but things are so much less certain now," a source told the newspaper. "It is very unlikely the BBC will allow themselves to be in the same position they were this year and end up spending so much money for such little value.

"Bruno chose Dancing With The Stars over Strictly, that's no secret. If he does the same again this year, things will be tricky. There is the perfect replacement waiting in the wings – Anton."

The BBC has already said to have handed new contracts for 2021 to all of the show's professional dancers as a reward for their sacrifices in getting the show on air in 2020.

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