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Anton Du Beke’s Strictly co-stars congratulate him on joining judging panel

Oti Mabuse and James Jordan led the congratulatory messages to Anton Du Beke  after it was announced the dancer has joined the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel. 

On Thursday, the BBC confirmed Anton, 54, the longest-serving pro dancer on the show, will make the step up to a judging seat this year for the entire series following a successful two-week stint as a panellist last year. 

Following the announcement, a host of Strictly’s professional dancers and fans took to social media to celebrate the ‘wonderful news’.  

Happy: James, meanwhile, who starred on the show alongside Anton from 2006- 2013, typed: 'Congratulations to my mate @TheAntonDuBeke on becoming a judge on #strictly. About b****y time!!' (pictured in 2019)

Thrilled: Oti Mabuse (L) and James Jordan (R) led the congratulatory messages to Anton Du Beke after it was announced the dancer has joined the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel

His dream: On Thursday, the BBC confirmed Anton, 54, the longest-serving pro dancer on the show, will make the step up to a judging seat this year for the entire series

 His dream: On Thursday, the BBC confirmed Anton, 54, the longest-serving pro dancer on the show, will make the step up to a judging seat this year for the entire series

Oti, who was crowned Strictly 2020 champion with Bill Bailey, took to Instagram where she wrote: ‘He made it! JUDGE @mrantondubeke super proud of you Anton and so happy! 

‘Feels like positivity is in the air – everyone gets what they’ve wanted and hoped for for years and it’s a beautiful sight to see with the @bbcstrictly first @jmanrara now @mrantondubeke nothing but joy and pride for both of you.’

James, meanwhile, who starred on the show alongside Anton from 2006- 2013, typed: ‘Congratulations to my mate @TheAntonDuBeke on becoming a judge on #strictly. About b****y time!!’. 

He made it! Oti and James said they were over the moon Anton had finally landed his dream role as a judge

He made it! Oti and James said they were over the moon Anton had finally landed his dream role as a judge 

Special bond: Host Tess Daly, 52, shared a throwback snap on Instagram alongside the message: 'We have had so many laughs over the past 17 years. Love him to bits'

Special bond: Host Tess Daly, 52, shared a throwback snap on Instagram alongside the message: ‘We have had so many laughs over the past 17 years. Love him to bits’

Anton, who joined the show since it started in 2004, will replace Bruno Tonioli, who will not be able to take part in the 19th series due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Bruno, 26, wrote: ‘Sadly due to the current quarantine regulations and previous work commitments I will miss this year ⁦@bbcstrictly⁩ will miss you all and I am sure you’ll be AMAZING’.  

Host Tess Daly, 52, shared a throwback snap on Instagram alongside the message: ‘This was taken after one of my favourite routines; as Austin Powers – and hilariously Judge Craig thought his teeth were part of the costume when they were in fact real. 

‘Priceless! We have had so many laughs over the past 17 years. Love him to bits’.  

Sweet: AJ Pritchard, who left after the 2019 series, uploaded a throwback snap from 2016 of the pair and penned: 'Congratulations @mrantondubeke...'

Sweet: AJ Pritchard, who left after the 2019 series, uploaded a throwback snap from 2016 of the pair and penned: ‘Congratulations @mrantondubeke…’ 

Other stars of the show also took to their social media to praise Anton on the landing the role.  

Janette Manrara, who has stepped down from being a pro dancer this year and will replace Zoe Ball on It Takes Two instead, wrote: ‘What wonderful news!!! CONGRATULATIONS ANTON on becoming our new @bbcstrictly judge!! Absolutely thrilled for you. So deserved after so many amazing years on that dance floor!’ 

Hilarious: Anton became a fan favourite with his wacky routines (pictured here with Anne Widdecombe in 2010)

Hilarious: Anton became a fan favourite with his wacky routines (pictured here with Anne Widdecombe in 2010)

AJ Pritchard, who left after the 2019 series, uploaded a throwback snap from 2016 of the pair and penned: ‘Congratulations @mrantondubeke… You are going to be perfect for the Job #Judge @bbcstrictly / sorry for the bad photo from 2016.’

Kevin Clifton, who also departed Strictly after the 2019 series, penned: ‘Congrats @TheAntonDuBeke. Ladies and gents, your new @bbcstrictly judging panel.’ 

Bruno added: ‘Sadly due to the current quarantine regulations and previous work commitments I will miss this year ⁦@bbcstrictly⁩ will miss you all and I am sure you’ll be AMAZING’.

Strictly family: Janette Manrara, Bruno Tonioli and Kevin Clifton also took to social media following the news

Strictly family: Janette Manrara, Bruno Tonioli and Kevin Clifton also took to social media following the news 

Meanwhile, viewers took to Twitter to share memes as well as their excitement over the role. 

One wrote: ‘Congratulations on this appointment Anton. Let’s hope it’s forever and ever well deserved.’

Another fan of the show typed: ‘Anton Du Beke should have always been the replacement for Bruce Forsyth as host. Winkleman and Daly are not as talented as their ubiquity would suggest.’

A third chimed: ‘Anton du Beke is the Prince Charles of the Strictly family’.   

'Well deserved': Meanwhile, viewers took to Twitter to share memes as well as their excitement over the role

‘Well deserved’: Meanwhile, viewers took to Twitter to share memes as well as their excitement over the role

The announcement was made via the official BBC Strictly account, as dazzling portraits of the judges were shared alongside the words: ‘It’s the judges!…

‘Please welcome back to Strictly, Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse AND Anton Du Beke, who’ll be stepping into Bruno Tonioli’s shoes for 2021!’ 

Anton said: ‘My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues for the next series of ‘Strictly’.

Exciting: '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', Anton said

Exciting: ‘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’, Anton said

‘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.’ 

Bruno – who has been a ‘Strictly’ judge since 2004 – is ‘gutted’ about missing this year’s show, but he is ‘so excited’ to see Anton on the programme.

ANTON’S PARTNERS AND PLACEMENTS  

SERIES 1 – Lesley Garrett 3rd 

SERIES 2 – Esther Rantzen 8th 

SERIES 3 – Patsy Palmer 5th 

SERIES 4 – Jan Ravens 9th 

SERIES 5 – Kate Garraway 8th 

SERIES 6 – Gillian Taylforth 15th

SERIES 7 – Laila Rouass 4th 

SERIES 8 – Ann Widdecombe 6th 

SERIES 9 – Nancy Dell’Olio 11th 

SERIES 10 – Jerry Hall 13th 

SERIES 11 – Fiona Fullerton 9th

SERIES 12 – Judy Murray 9th 

SERIES 13 – Katie Derham 4th  

SERIES 14 – Lesley Joseph 11th  

SERIES 15 – Ruth Langsford 9th 

SERIES 16 – Susannah Constantine 15th  

SERIES 17 – Emma Barton 2nd

SERIES 18 – Jacqui Smith 12th  

He added: ‘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 … ha ha.

‘Darlings, I’m kidding, I’m kidding! 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.’

Anton will bring a lot of experience to the panel after he joined ‘Strictly’ during its first series, and he is the only pro dancer to have danced in every series to date. 

While he has performed in all 18 series, Anton has sadly never walked away victorious. 

The highest place he has scored was coming in second with Emma Barton in 2019. 

His second highest was in 2004’s inaugural season, where he came in third with Lesley Garrett.

Anton’s appearance as judge last year won rave reviews as he stood in for Bruno and Motsi. 

He proved to be a hit with viewers after he stood in for the South African dancer, who was isolating for 14 days, after rushing home to Germany due to her dance school being ‘targeted’.

Viewers called for Anton to become a permanent judge on the show. The Mail On Sunday reported at the time that Anton hopes his role on the panel on Saturday night could lead to a full-time position.

Friends of Anton say he has been eager ‘for quite some time’ to have a judging role and has been disappointed when outsiders have been brought in.

Happy days: Bruno - who has been a 'Strictly' judge since 2004 - is 'gutted' about missing this year's show, but he is 'so excited' to see Anton on the programme (Bruno, pictured in 2019)

Happy days: Bruno – who has been a ‘Strictly’ judge since 2004 – is ‘gutted’ about missing this year’s show, but he is ‘so excited’ to see Anton on the programme (Bruno, pictured in 2019)

One friend told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This is a dream come true for Anton. For many years now he has fancied the role but has been beaten to it when the likes of Motsi and before that Shirley Ballas were brought in. 

‘He has been a trouper for Strictly, he has been given some less-than-able celebrities to dance with over the years and never complains.’

The exciting news comes after Anton discussed his £10,000 hair transplant and said that the procedure ‘immediately transformed his life’.

Here they are! The announcement was made via the official BBC Strictly account, as dazzling portraits of the judges were shared alongside the words: 'It¿s the judges!'

Here they are! The announcement was made via the official BBC Strictly account, as dazzling portraits of the judges were shared alongside the words: ‘It’s the judges!’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk