Strictly Come Dancing judge speaks out on quitting BBC series: ‘It was the right time’

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Rumours have been circulating recently that Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli won’t be taking part in the 2020 series due to living in Los Angeles and not being able to travel due to COVID-19. It has now been reported that if the BBC has to, they will continue with just three judges on the panel. However, in the midst of all of this, former head judge Len Goodman has spoken out about his own exit from the show and why he felt he had to leave. 

Len left Strictly Come Dancing back in 2016 in a shocking departure after taking up the role as head judge when the show began in 2004.

When he left he said: “This adventure began when I was 60, and now that I’ve reached my 70s, I’ve decided after this year it’s time to hand the role of head judge to someone else.”

He was replaced by Shirley Ballas, who the former head judge has praised for making the role her own. 

Len has now spoken out about why he really left and what he really thinks of his replacement on the show. 


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Len told “I do think it was the right time for me to leave because I’d done the show for 12 years and I couldn’t think of what else to say about the Viennese Waltz.

“I suppose I could have carried on until people wanted rid of me, but I was still quite popular, so that was good. 

“I think Shirley has done a wonderful job, she stayed true to herself and didn’t try to be like me. 

“The show is still great and I think it’s good that there are two men and two women on the panel.”

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Strictly Come Dancing is set to return later this year, but with big changes to the format. 

Last week it was announced that this year’s series will be much shorter as the “safety of our cast and crew is of the utmost importance to us”, the BBC revealed.

There have also been reports professional dancers and celebrity partners may have to quarantine together to allow for group dances and more intimate routines.

However, fans were shocked when they heard Bruno Tonioli might not be taking part at all. 

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When judging Strictly Come Dancing, every year Bruno takes some time away to judge Dancing with the Stars in the US.

However, with the current travel restrictions, it seems that Bruno just might not be able to make it down this September. 

A source revealed to The Sun: “As things stand, Bruno won’t be replaced and they’ll switch to three judges.

“The BBC hope the rules on flying will be relaxed by the autumn, which means Bruno should be able to take part.”


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They added: “They don’t want to go through a long process of replacing him when he could have done it anyway, so it’s very doubtful Cheryl will be there, not as a judge anyway.”

Leading bookmaker Coral has listed a few celebrities who could take over from Bruno and it seems Len is most popular. 

Coral’s John Hill explained: “With doubts over Bruno Tonioli’s availability for Strictly this year, the odds have been crashing down on Len Goodman making a return to the judging panel in 2020.”

Hopefully, the COVID-19 restrictions will allow Bruno to return for the show later this year, but viewers will just have to wait and see. 

Strictly Come Dancing is set to return to BBC One later this year. 

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