'Love, love, love you': Craig Revel Horwood welcomes Anton Du Beke back to 'Strictly'

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Anton Du Beke and Craig Revel Horwood will be working together again. (BBC)
Anton Du Beke and Craig Revel Horwood will be working together again. (BBC)

Craig Revel Horwood has welcomed Anton Du Beke back to the Strictly judging panel, telling him: “Love, love, love you.”

The dancer had been standing in for Bruno Tonioli, because COVID travel rules made it tough for Tonioli to travel back and forth between the UK and the US where he is a judge on Dancing With The Stars.

But Tonioli – who had been on the BBC ballroom show since it launched in 2004 - has now left and Du Beke is taking over.

Read more: Strictly: Bruno Tonioli's most outrageous moments as he bows out of show

He will now be a permanent judge alongside Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli at Utilita Arena Birmingham on January 20, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Bruno Tonioli had been on the show since it launched. (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Appearing on Morning Live via video link, Revel Horwood said he was “really looking forward to this year, really looking forward to seeing who the Beeb get on there – and so much fun”.

“It is great to have Anton with us again, darling,” added.

“Love you. Love, love, love you.”

Asked by Morning Live host Sara Cox whether he would be “the sweet to Craig’s occasional sour”, Du Beke replied: “I am the delicate cheese to his slightly spicy pea, I think.”

'Strictly' judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke voted to save Judi Love. (BBC)
Anton Du Beke has been popular on the show. (BBC)

Du Beke, who filled in for Tonioli last year and was a huge hit, added that he was hoping some of the COVID restrictions of previous seasons could be relaxed.

He said: “What I hope we are able to do this year actually, talking about that, is I am hoping we can get rid of the screen because we have had the screens up over the last couple of the years between the judges, and the judges slightly separated.

“I am hoping we can get a bit closer so we can have a bit more chat amongst ourselves.”

Revel Horwood said he would like to see music mogul Simon Cowell sign up for the new series.

“I think he would be absolutely brilliant,” he said.

“We have a lot of high-waisted outfits,” he teased.

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“I am sure he would be so much fun on it as well. It would be nice to get to know the real him.”

Simon Cowell during day two of the Cazoo Derby Festival at Epsom Racecourse. Picture date: Saturday June 5, 2021.
Craig Revel Horwood would like to see Simon Cowell on Strictly. (PA)

The show will return later this year, with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman back as hosts.

Watch: Bruno Tonioli leaves Strictly due to 'travel situation'