STRICTLY Come Dancing's Anton Du Beke is prepared to return to the show as a professional dancer next year if BBC bosses want Bruno Tonioli back as judge, The Sun can reveal.
The 55-year-old star stepped in for Bruno this year after Covid made it impossible for the Italian to travel between countries to combine appearing on the UK series with the US one.
And although a decision hasn’t been made over Anton or Bruno’s long-term future, Strictly sources said it would be “tricky” for Anton to return to the dancefloor.
However, he is willing to do whatever is asked of him – even though he will find leaving the judging table behind "weird".
Our insider said: “Anton is loving his stint as a judge and producers are delighted with the job he’s been doing standing in for Bruno. That said Bruno is a one-off and everybody expects to see him back. Producers will then have a tough choice to make.
“If in a year’s time Bruno comes back and Anton is invited to return as a dancer he would do it but it would definitely feel a bit weird for him.
“Once you’ve been a judge and decided who stays and goes it is very tricky to make that step back into the competition and take part against all the other dancers. Anton’s a professional so would make the best of the situation but it wouldn’t be an easy transition.”
Meanwhile The Sun can reveal that one of the main reasons why Anton chose to take part in panto this year was because he “misses the buzz of performing”.
The Strictly veteran will soon start combining time on the show with a part as Buttons in Cinderella.
Our insider added: “Anton is a performer and loves to be entertaining people. That’s why he was desperate to take part in panto. It is a chance for him to throw himself back into performing and get that buzz which he no longer has on Strictly because he is in the judges chair.
"Right now Anton has the best of both worlds.”
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Anton has been on the show since it started back in 2004 and was promoted to judge during last year's series when Bruno was unable to make it back to the UK.
After it was announced that he was formally swapping the dance floor for a seat at the panel this year, Anton said it was a “dream come true”.
He added: “I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues for the next series of Strictly."
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