Bruno Tonioli has stepped down as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing after 18 years, according to reports.

The 66-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer has been on the panel since the BBC One show's launch in 2004.

The Daily Mail reported he has quit the show to concentrate on his other role as a judge on its US version, Dancing with the Stars.

In 2020, pandemic travel uncertainty meant Tonioli appeared virtually to give his verdict on the performances during the Sunday night results show.

Last year, he was replaced by the show's longest-serving professional dancer, Anton Du Beke.

The 2021 judging panel (L-R) - Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse

Fan favourite Du Beke is now the frontrunner to secure a permanent spot on the panel alongside Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood.

Tonioli joined Strictly during its debut series in 2004 alongside the original panel of Len Goodman, Arlene Phillips and Revel Horwood.

The forthcoming series will be the first since the departures of two previous winners, Strictly professional dancers Aljaž Škorjanec and Oti Mabuse.

Mabuse, 31, announced in February that she was leaving. Skorjanec, 32, revealed he was quitting via Instagram in March.

Representatives of Tonioli have been contacted for a response. The BBC declined to comment.

Source: Press Association

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