Strictly’s Oti Mabuse may be replaced by her lesser-known sister Phemelo amid speculation she will ‘never return’ to the show after being confirmed as a Dancing on Ice judge.
The South African dancer, 31, was said to be thinking about quitting as a professional dancer after Strictly Come Dancing’s latest series, it was reported in November.
Now, sources have told The Sun that BBC bosses are considering asking Oti and her eldest sister Motsi, who is a judge on the dance contest, if middle sister Phemelo, 35, would join the show.
New face? Strictly’s Oti Mabuse (pictured with Ugo Monye) may be replaced by her lesser-known sister Phemelo after speculation she will ‘never return’ to the show
A source told the publication: ‘Oti is a hard act to follow as a professional dancer and the bosses have been discussing making her sister Phemelo an offer to join.
‘Strictly is so family-friendly, and having Oti and Motsi on board has really played into that, so Phemelo could be a brilliant replacement.’
The source added that they would have to make a ‘really attractive’ offer to sway Phemelo, who currently works as an engineer in South Africa.
MailOnline has contacted Oti’s representatives and the BBC for comment.
Talented: Sources told The Sun BBC bosses are considering asking Oti and her sister Motsi, who is a judge on the dance contest, if middle sister Phemelo, 35, would join the show
Earlier this year, Oti said her lesser-known sister Phemelo was the best dancer out of the three siblings.
She said on the Jonathan Ross Show: ‘To be honest, we have another sister, middle sister, she was the better dancer.’
She added: ‘She’s a mechanical engineer [now]. She designs windmills which create electricity through wind in South Africa.’
Phemelo won the South African title in Latin American and ballroom dance when she was younger, before going on to compete at World Championship level.
Sisters: The source added that they would have to make a ‘really attractive’ offer to sway Phemelo, who currently works as an engineer in South Africa
She also appeared as a professional dancer on South Africa’s version of Strictly in 2006 and taught ballroom dance in Pretoria.
It comes after Oti was confirmed as the newest judge on the Dancing On Ice panel, alongside fellow judges Ashley Banjo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.
The dancer will replace John Barrowman, 54, after he was axed following claims he exposed himself on the set of Doctor Who.
The actor, 54, issued an apology in May for the historic incidents, but said they were ‘exaggerated’.
Commenting on the new role, Oti said: ‘As a professional dancer I have always had so much respect for the skating professionals on Dancing On Ice.
New role: It comes after Oti was confirmed as the newest judge on the Dancing On Ice panel, alongside fellow judges Ashley Banjo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
‘It is an exceptional skill that is also so beautiful to watch. I’m feeling really enthusiastic about joining the panel alongside the legendary Torvill and Dean and Ashley Banjo.
‘I can’t wait to see the celebrities thrive as they learn how to ice-skate and to champion the professional skaters as they create incredible choreography.
‘Having been on both sides of the table, I know a little bit about how they’ll be feeling. It’s more than an honour and I already can’t wait to join the family.’
Her new role led to speculation that Oti will be ‘unlikely’ to return to Strictly, where she has been part of the professional line-up for six years.
She is the only pro to have won the show two-years running – first with Kelvin Fletcher and then with Bill Bailey last year.
Strictly: Oti is the only pro to have won Strictly two-years running – first with Kelvin Fletcher and then with Bill Bailey (pictured) last year
But celebrity PR and publicist Harry Rutter believes it’s not likely she’ll go back to the Beeb.
‘Moves like this don’t often happen, but it’s more than likely that a very tempting offer was put on the table by ITV bosses.
‘Oti has been doing Strictly Come Dancing since 2015 and has built up a substantial audience both on TV and online, this is something ITV would have taken into account,’ he said.
A representative for Oti told MailOnline it is ‘all speculation’. A Strictly representative declined to comment.
On Dancing on Ice, Oti will be taking the seat that was vacated by John, after he was axed earlier this year for exposing himself on set.
The TV star described his past actions on set as ‘silly behaviour’ and insisted on Lorraine last month he would ‘never do it now’ after previously admitting to ‘tomfoolery’ on the sets of Doctor Who, where he began playing Captain Jack Harkness in 2005 and spin-off series Torchwood a year later.
When questioned by the host if he felt his behaviour had ‘crossed the line’, John agreed that if it were to happen today then it would be, but was quick to accuse people of turning his actions into ‘sexual harassment’.
Replaced: On Dancing on Ice, Oti will be taking the seat that was vacated by John Barrowman, 54, (pictured) after he was axed earlier this year for exposing himself on set
No charges were brought against the media personality after allegations about him exposing himself were revealed in May following more serious allegations of sexual harassment against his Doctor Who co-star Noel Clarke.
He explained: ‘I think that if it was now, it would be crossing the line. I think that something that happened 15 years ago, it was bawdy behaviour, silly behaviour, it was being done in the confines of the set, and we were like a family, working together.
‘The fact that it was stories that I’ve already told. I’ve been telling them for years. I haven’t hidden anything, they’ve been exaggerated, and they’ve tried to turn them into sexual harassment which it absolutely is not.’
The actor added he can now see his behaviour was ‘juvenile’ and it would not be something he would do today.
The new series of Dancing On Ice will star Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor, Love Islander Liberty Poole, Happy Mondays dancer Bez, Paralympian Stef Reid, rugby star Ben Foden, and popstar and actress Kimberly Wyatt.
While Paul Gascoigne’s son Regan Gascoigne, pop star Rachel Stevens, professional dancer Brendan Cole, presenter Ria Hebden, BMX Olympic silver medalist Kye Whyte and The Vamps’ Connor Ball complete the cast.
Expertly guiding the celebrity novices from their shaky first steps to spectacular routines are their professional partners.
Axed: No charges were brought against the media personality after allegations about him exposing himself were revealed in May (pictured on the DOI panel in 2020)
Matt Evers, a part of Dancing On Ice since it launched on ITV in 2006, returns to the show alongside fellow series favourites Alexandra Shauman and husband Łukasz Różycki, Andy Buchanan and wife Robin Johnstone.
Mark Hanretty, Brendyn Hatfield, Vanessa Bauer, Karina Manta and Joe Johnson will also be making a return.
Reigning champion pro Angela Egan who lifted the trophy with Sonny Jay last series is also back.
Completing the pro team are three brand-new additions to the 2022 line-up as world class competitive figure skaters Morgan Swales, Tippy Packard and Colin Grafton all make their Dancing on Ice debuts.
Dancing On Ice 2022: Who are the celebrities?
Profession: Olympics BMX rider
Kye says: ‘I’d love to see if I can make the final because I’m very competitive.’
Rachel says: ‘It now feels really real, this is really happening. I’m so excited, obviously really nervous.’
Profession: Love Island star
Liberty says: ‘I ice skate as a hobby sometimes so I can get around the rink but I can’t do any tricks’
Stef says: ‘I’m going to be a contestant on Dancing on Ice and it’s a little bit scary but I cannot wait!’
Regan says: ‘I love dancing but it’s the skill of this. I’ve always wanted to do it. Always! Ever since I was a kid!’
Profession: Pussycat Dolls singer
Kimberly says: ‘I’m just excited to see what I can do on there. I’m up for a challenge!’
Brendan says: ‘I’ve known I’d be doing the show for quite some time and I want to get started, I’m so excited to be on the show.’
Profession: Rugby player
Ben says: ‘I like the idea of learning a new sport and a new skill. I’m quite competitive as well.’
Profession: Coronation Street actress
Sally says: ‘This is a massive challenge. I’m so scared! I’ve just got to take every opportunity I get.’
Profession: Happy Mondays
Bez says: ‘I’m always up for a challenge and am already in training on the ice.’
Ria says: ‘It will be brilliant to learn a new scary skill.’
Profession: The Vamps bassist
Connor says: ‘I’m excited obviously but I’m really nervous. I’m quite clumsy, accident prone.’