Anton Du Beke confirmed to return to Strictly Come Dancing – but he’s not a judge

Strictly: Anton speaks to Esther Rantzen about their time on show

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First, the BBC announce which professional dancers will be stepping onto the coveted dance floor for the 2021 series and then they announce which celebrities have signed up to take part in the series before the pairings are confirmed a few weeks ahead of the competition kicking off. Following an extraordinary average of 11million viewers tuning into Strictly Come Dancing last year, fans will be delighted to know it is returning this autumn with all their favourite professional’s Ballroom and Latin performers. including Anton Du Beke – the only dancer who has been signed up to the show since its inauguration. But what is his role this year? Sadly, he won’t be on the judging panel. 

Anton was one of 16 dancers named with last year’s winner Oti Mabuse also confirmed to return. 

Husband and wife Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara were also said to be making a comeback, as well as Amy Dowden and Dianne Buswell. 

The ever-popular Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez and Johannes Radebe were also named as part of the line-up. 

Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk and Nadiya Bychkova would also be starring in the 2021 line-up. 

While Nancy Xu and Neil Jones – who have previously not been given celebrity partners and have just taken place in the group dancers – have also been named. 

As for who will be given a partner and who will be on the subs bench, fans will have to wait closer to the start of the competition. 

Sarah James, Executive Producer, BBC Studios has said: “We are so thrilled to be welcoming back our incredible line-up of professional dancers for 2021. 

“Their passion and dedication for Strictly shone through more than ever last year as they all sacrificed so much to deliver an unforgettable series during unprecedented and challenging times. 

“With so much talent returning to the ballroom, the 2021 series promises more show-stopping choreography, memorable performances and world class dancing,” she added. 

But with Anton’s name appearing in the professional dancer line-up, does this mean the judging panel will remain the same as it did last year? 

Shirley Ballas was Head Judge and Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood joined her in the studio. 

But Bruno Tonioli was absent during the live shows and instead, featured on Sunday evening’s via a video link from LA to discuss the dances which occurred the night before. 

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When Motsi was forced to self-isolate for two weeks following an emergency trip to Germany, the judging panel was then down two people. 

But when Anton was asked by BBC bosses to step in as a temporary replacement, he jumped at the chance. 

Having been booted out of the competition quite early on, the fan-favourite got comfortable behind the judging panel, dishing out the odd ten here and there. 

And those watching at home loved him being there too! So much so, they called for him to become a permanent judge. 

Sadly, it seems the BBC bosses haven’t listened to the fans and Anton will be partnered up once more for another series. 

Who will be dancing with this year though? 

As ever, rumours have been circulating over which celebrities will take part in the new series. 

Strictly Come Dancing returns to the BBC later this year. 

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