Bruni Tonioli will make a return to the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel, the BBC has confirmed.
The 65-year-old judge and choreographer pulled out of the current series of the TV show due to uncertainty over travel restrictions, given he is currently based in the US, filming the American series Dancing with the Stars.
Longest-serving professional dancer Anton Du Beke stepped in in Bruno’s absence this year.
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However, the Italian will be reunited with Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood in the 2022 arena live shows that will follow the current series.
The arena tour, in January and February, directed by Craig, will feature performances from some celebrities and professional dancers from the current series of the programme.
Bruno said: “I am absolutely delighted to be back on the judging panel for the Strictly Arena Tour for the first time in two years.
“I’ve missed my fellow judges, I’ve missed the glitz and glamour of the tour and I’ve missed the amazing audiences that come to see us all over the country – I hope you have missed me too.
“I cannot wait to be back alongside Shirley, Craig, the celebs, and the pros.
“The fans are really in for a treat – next year’s arena tour is going to be simply fantastico.”
Given Anton stepped into Bruno’s place this year, there is uncertainty as to who will be on the judging panel next year and if Anton will go back to the dancefloor.
Strictly producers will have a tough decision to make about Anton and Bruno’s future on the show.
Craig has been quizzed about his co-star and good friend on Kate Thornton’s podcast, White Wine Question Time.
“I really don’t know [if Bruno will be back],” he said. “Certainly in my life he will because I know we’re doing another program together.”
Craig added that he “hopes” that Bruno will be back on Strictly as “it’s only Covid that’s keeping him away”.
“All I’m saying is that there’s always room for another judge, isn’t there?” he added.
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The Strictly Come Dancing tour features dates in Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Glasgow, Nottingham and London.
Craig added: “I’m delighted to be back directing and judging the 2022 tour.
“Next year is going to be bigger and better than ever before.
“With Bruno coming back to join us on the judging panel, this your will be just fab-u-lous.”
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