After more than 16 years as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing, Anton Du Beke stepped onto the judging panel for the first time ever tonight and fans couldn’t get enough.
The last-minute addition was made as regular judge Motsi Mabuse has been forced to isolate for two weeks, following a trip to Germany that she stated was for an “urgent” reason.
With Bruno Tonioli also absent due to his commitment to Dancing with the Stars in the United States, the judging panel was reduced to only two members, prompting the BBC to promote Du Beke to judge on a temporary basis.
Strictly fans were thrilled to see him on the panel, with many of them taking to Twitter to campaign for him to be a permanent addition to the line-up.
— Sophie Barnard (@BarnardSophs) November 14, 2020
Claudia Winkleman joked at the start of the show that Anton “reluctantly accepted the role”, but his beaming smile as he came down the stairs suggested otherwise.
“I will endeavour to be much more generous than these two have been to me over the years,” he said, after taking his position next to Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood.
Keep Anton as a judge please it’s where he’s meant to be now ???? #Strictly
— eve (@evebennettx) November 14, 2020
Current Strictly champion Kelvin Fletcher was among the supporters on Twitter, who shared that he was “loving Anton as a judge” on tonight’s show.
Loving Anton as a judge! Haha go on lad! ❤️???????? #Strictly
— Kelvin Fletcher (@kelvin_fletcher) November 14, 2020
Television presenter Richard Osman echoed his sentiment, tweeting that Anton was doing a “great job” providing words of encouragement to this year’s contestants.
I knew Anton would do a great job. Loving him as a judge #StrictlyComeDancing
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) November 14, 2020
Some fans have wanted Du Beke as a Strictly judge for many years now, with his name always suggested whenever a member of the panel leaves the show.
That includes this year, following the news that Tonioli would not be taking part in this year’s series, but Du Beke instead joined as a competitor and paired up with former Labour politician Jacqui Smith.
Smith was the first contestant to be eliminated from this year’s competition in Week Two, after failing to impress judges with her Foxtrot and Samba, meaning Du Beke was available to fill in for Mabuse for her two-week quarantine.
For now, Du Beke is to be only a temporary addition to the judging panel, with Mabuse set to return at the end of the month – but don’t be surprised if fans continue calling for his reinstatement.
Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturdays at 7:10pm on BBC One. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.