Darcey Bussell

Strictly Come Dancing will enter its seventeenth series this year, but after ballerina Darcey Bussell’s shock announcement that she has left the show, who will be taking her place?

For fifteen years Strictly has managed to keep delighting its millions of fans, keeping the programme comfortably familiar while continually refreshing the format. Bussell has been a fixture on the judging panel since 2012, and while she will certainly be missed, there is also an opportunity for Strictly producers to go in a different direction.  

Is it Finally Anton’s Time?

Early favourite Anton du Beke has slipped in the running and is now being offered by 888sport at odds of 16/1. Du Beke is the only dancer remaining from the show’s original stable of professional partners, and at 51 years old he has surely deserved to put his feet up behind the judging desk.

He certainly has some high profile celebrity support. Simon Webbe, a singer from the boyband Blue and former Strictly contestant told the Daily Express, “Anton is the man: he’s funny, he’s witty, he can give you a criticism. That’s your new Len [Goodman], as far as I’m concerned.”

Presenter Zoe Ball has also given her backing, saying that she’d “like to see Anton in that role,” but added that she had “heard there is talk the new judge will be a woman.”

888sport appear to agree that a female judge is most likely. Karen Hardy is now the even money favourite to fill Bussell’s ballet shoes. Hardy, a professional ballroom dancer, is well known to Strictly viewers and has even fulfilled judging duties on the Strictly live tour.

Also in the frame are Helen Richey at 4/1 and Ian Waite at 5/1.