Strictly Come Dancing 2021 judges: Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas - but where's Bruno Tonioli?

Ever-present professional dancer Anton Du Beke joins the Strictly Come Dancing judging line-up, replacing Bruno Tonioli for the 2021 series.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 2 September 2021 - 11.56am
BBC Strictly Come Dancing's Anton Du Beke

Strictly Come Dancing has revealed it's new-look panel of judges for 2021.

Professional dancer Anton Du Beke, who has been on the show since its first series, replaces Bruno Tonioli as the fourth judge.

Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood will all be back to offer their verdict and scores on the celebrity contestants.

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Anton Du Beke

Anton Du Beke at a Strictly launch Getty

Anton Du Beke joined Strictly during its first series and is the only professional dancer to have danced in every series to date, bringing plenty of experience and expertise to the panel.

Across 18 series he has danced with Judy Murray, Nancy Dell'Olio, Ann Widdecombe, Patsy Palmer and Emma Barton and he's reached the final three times. Du Beke has never won the show.

Anton already has two weeks' experience on the judging panel under his belt. After he and partner Jacqui Smith were eliminated in week 2 last year, he returned to the show to stand in for judge Motsi Mabuse in weeks 4 and 5 when she was forced to self-isolate following a trip to Germany.

The dancer said: “My loves, I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues for the next series of Strictly. It’s a dream come true to be judging alongside the best of the best and I promise to be kinder to all the couples than any of them have ever been to me.”

Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas - Strictly Come Dancing head judge BBC

Ballroom champion Shirley Ballas became Strictly’s head judge in 2017 following the departure of Len Goodman.

The Queen of Latin has a strict and technical approach to judging, which was very different to Len.

Her first series included a significant amount of controversy after she had a live TV row with Brendan Cole over her comments about Good Morning Britain's Charlotte Hawkins.

The 60-year-old began dancing at the age of seven and went on to become a Latin American dance champion in the UK and the US.

Craig Revel Horwood

The ‘Mr Nasty’ of Strictly will be returning for his 19th series of the show this autumn

The Australian-born star has appeared in musicals such as West Side Story, La Cage Aux Folles and Me and My Girl.

Motsi Mabuse

Motsi Mabuse on Strictly Come Dancing BBC

The South African dancer is the older sister of Strictly professional - and two-time winner - Oti. She joined the BBC judging panel in 2019, becoming an instant hit with fans.

She was previously a judge on the German version of Strictly Come Dancing, called Let’s Dance.

Motsi is a former South African Champion and German Latin Champion in 2009 and 2010.

Where is Bruno Tonioli?

Bruno Tonioli dancing with Shirley Ballas BBC

Vivacious, flamboyant and rambunctious judge Bruno Tonioli was determined to be part of the new series of Strictly, but due to international travel restrictions may not be able to fly in from Los Angeles to attend.

He has been a fixture on Strictly since 2004 and is also a judge on Dancing With The Stars in the USA.

"Whilst I am gutted to not be on the show this year there is one person and one person only that could take my place - it’s just a shame they weren’t available... haha! Darlings I’m kidding, I’m kidding!" said Tonioli.

"Seriously though, I have to tell you, Anton IS Mr Strictly and if anybody is filling in for me, it has to be him. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way and I am so excited to see him waggle his paddle."

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One this autumn.

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Who are Strictly's former judges?

Darcey Bussell

Now a Dame, Darcey Bussell left the Strictly Come Dancing family in 2018 after seven years on the panel.

Announcing her exit, Darcey said: "It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly, working with such a talented team.

"I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dancers, the musicians, the entire back stage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive.

"I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement at all, I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can’t imagine having gone any better.

"I know I will miss being part of this unique show and the fact that it celebrates dance is something I am so passionate about. I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day."

Len Goodman

The original Head Judge retired from the show in 2017, making his final appearance in the Christmas special.

Len has continued as a judge on Dancing With The Stars in America and returned to the BBC as the host of gameshow Partners in Rhyme.

Arlene Phillips

Arlene was the face of dance on the BBC in the early 00s, starring on Strictly and working on reality shows DanceX, Strictly Dance Fever and So You Think You Can Dance.

She was controversially dropped from the judge lineup after series 6, prompting complaints of ageism when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon.

Alesha Dixon

Alesha was a controversial replacement for Arlene Phillips, taking on the job only two years after winning series 5 in 2007.

After a shaky start, Alesha proved to be a hit with viewers and ratings continued to rise before she was poached by Simon Cowell for Britain’s Got Talent after three series as a Strictly judge.

Watch the couples dance live for the first time when Strictly Come Dancing returns at 7pm on Saturday September 25 on BBC One