Strictly Come Dancing's Bruno Tonioli has previously spoken about the possibility he might not be able to judge this year's series due to travel restrictions and now the BBC has confirmed he won't be joining Shirley, Motsi and Craig in the studio for the upcoming series of Strictly. At least, not at first...
Bruno has judged on both Strictly and the show's US equivalent since 2005, flying on a weekly basis between the UK and America, however due to coronavirus travel restrictions, he's not able to do the same currently.
“For years and years I’ve spent two days of each week on the plane flying between London and LA," Bruno told The Sun in June.
“I leave America on Wednesday and come back every Sunday but now it’s impossible and, because of the current travel restrictions, it’s beyond my control.
“Under normal circumstances I take a deep breath and do the travel. I love the show and love to do it and normally I’m destroyed by Christmas, but this year is different for everyone.
“Under the current restrictions they just won’t allow it. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Now, Strictly has confirmed that indeed, Bruno won't be judging in the studio until the later stages of this year's contest.
"Vivacious, flamboyant and rambunctious, Bruno Tonioli's infectious energy has delighted Strictly audiences for seventeen series. Whilst circumstances have meant that Bruno is currently in Los Angeles, he's determined to be part of the Strictly series this year," a statement read.
"Bruno will be keeping a close eye on the series throughout the run and will be involved remotely in the Sunday night Results show each week, from across the pond. Plus, Bruno will be making his grand return to the show full time towards the end of the series."
Bruno said of his newly-shaped role: "I absolutely adore being part of Strictly and can't wait to see what incredible dancing this year has in store! Lockdown has resulted in me being in LA for the foreseeable, but I'm excited to be involved as much as I possibly can. There was no cha-cha-chance I'd miss out!"
It's currently unclear whether Strictly will bring in a new judge to keep Bruno's seat warm in the studio. Watch this space for more news.
Strictly Come Dancing will air on BBC One later this year.
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