Judge has been on the Saturday night hit show since its debut in 2004

Bruno Tonioli has confirmed he has left Seriously for Dancing because his travel commitment made him “unable to continue” but praised his replacement, Anton Du Beke, for doing a ” great job” on the jury.

The 66-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer has been a judge since the hit BBC One show launched in 2004.

He announced his departure from The One Show on Thursday night, saying he will instead focus on his other judging role, Dancing With The Stars, which airs around the same time of year in America.

“What happened with Covid, the travel situation is so unpredictable,” Tonioli said. I usually leave on Sunday and fly back on Thursday to do a show in London.

Bruno Tonioli

“It is not possible because of the change of rules, the entry and exit of the airport is not the same anymore, creating an unsustainable situation. I miss it a lot.

“Unfortunately, Dancing With The Stars has moved to Disney+, which is a big deal. Because of the tourist situation, I will be there.”

In 2020, the travel pandemic uncertainty means Tonioli can only appear via video link to deliver his verdict on performances on Sunday night’s results show.

And last year, he was replaced by longtime professional dancer Du Beke, who joined the panel with Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas.

“I think Anton did a great job, he deserves to be in that chair… that’s my 10, keep going, I’m proud,” Tonioli said.

In a message to the other judges, Tonioli added: “Shirley my love, you are much safer with Anton.

Strict judges (from left) Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli

Strict judges (from left) Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli

“Motsi don’t worry about Craig, he’s just jealous he can’t wear your clothes, Craig is just Craig and behind the scenes he’s more fun than I am, he’s cool and laid back.

Tonioli said Serious fans may still see him in related events like the post-show arena tour, on which he was a judge earlier this year.

“I can do the tour, I’m not leaving forever, don’t count me, I will always be part of the family. We created the program.

“I’m not going anywhere, it’s impossible not to do. The board of directors was very good last year, they were brilliant and have all my support, so hopefully we can do something different.”

Tonioli joined Serious in its series debut in 2004 alongside original judges Dame Arlene Phillips, Len Goodman, and Revel Horwood.

Du Beke said he was happy to be back as a judge on the show: “Woohooo! This is BRILLIANT news. Everyone knows how much I love the show and I’m really excited to continue being a regular judge. And I’m in the final again – now I know how Giovanni feels! ”

Revel Horwood, who is now the only remaining original member of the strict Judges lineup, said he was “very happy” to be back, adding: “It would be very upsetting!”.

Head judge Ballas said: “Being a judge on the Serious section has been a joy and honor for me, and I can’t wait to get back on set to wave.

“Every year the great production team surpasses themselves and I know they have some great plans for 2022. I’m excited to get started.”

Mabuse took over from Dame Darcey Bussell in 2019, having previously served as a judge on the German version of the film Seriously, Let’s Dance.

She said: “Last year’s Serious series was one of the highlights of my career, it had a real impact that was unbelievable to watch. I’m so proud to be a part of this show and I can’t wait to be back for my fourth series! “.

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