Strictly Come Dancings Bruno Tonioli quits judging panel after 18 years

Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli has quit the popular BBC competitive dance series after eighteen years, it has been claimed.

The 66 year old was unable to participate in last year's judging panel after Covid restrictions prevented him from travelling to the UK, and professional dancer Anton Du Beke took his place alongside Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, and Shirley Ballas.

However, it has now been reported that Bruno will completely leave the UK behind to focus all of his attention Stateside on Dancing With The Stars US, in which he also serves as a panellist.

"Bruno has quit the show for good,' a source told The Daily Mail. "He's going to be a judge only on Dancing With The Stars from now on."

Bruno joined Strictly in 2004 and formed part of the original judging line-up alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Arlene Phillips and his Dancing With The Stars co-star Len Goodman.

OK! has contacted a representative for Strictly for further comment.

Bruno told The Sun on Sunday last year he was "sad and frustrated" not to be on Strictly.

He also poked fun at former professional dancer Anton, 55, saying: "Good for him. He needs the money."

The star added: "If they want me, I'll be back. But they may say, 'Anton was great, we don't need you'."

In February, it was claimed that Strictly bosses intended to keep Anton as a judge this year, axing Bruno altogether.

The source told The Sun: "We have been told Anton's contract as a judge is going to be renewed. The bosses were really happy with his performance.

"It also hasn't escaped their notice his salary is considerably lower than Bruno's.

"Bruno has been an integral part of Strictly for more than a decade, and there is a huge amount of affection for him from those on the show.

"This decision will ruffle some feathers, not least with Craig, who has been a very, very vocal advocate for welcoming Bruno back. But the bosses' attitude is, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'."

In other Strictly news, dancer Oti Mabuse also shocked fans earlier this year when she announced she would be leaving the show.

The show's last series was won by EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis and her dance partner Giovanni Pernice.

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