Ever since Darcey revealed she would be moving on from Strictly Come Dancing to pastures new earlier this year, English ballroom dancer Anton du Beke has been one of the favourites to fill in the spot.
With speculation galore over whether the original professional dancer would move into another role, it seems the answer may have now been revealed, according to recent claims.
It has been reported fan-favourite Oti Mabuse won’t be able to take on the position due to fears of unrest within the rest of the professional dancers on the BBC hit competition.
According to The Sun, a source claimed the show wouldn’t risk throwing the group into turmoil, particularly when some of the dancers have been a part of the programme longer than Oti, who joined in 2015.
Oti has achieved critical acclaim on Strictly Come Dancing ever since she joined, and it’s largely down to her challenging routines and bubbly personality.
But unfortunately the insider claimed she wouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to showcase her skills a judge as the lines between the dancers would be blurred.
“The thought was that the other dancers wouldn’t react well to Oti being a judge,” the source said.
“She is popular, but if the dynamic changed and she went from being one of them into another role on the show it’s likely that this would cause friction and upset.”
Anton wouldn’t have the same problem given he’s been on the show from the very beginning and may be best placed to give critique on the celebrities and their dance partners.
Yet the insider said that Darcey’s replacement is likely to be a woman to “keep the panel fair”.
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Is Anton completely ruled out of taking Darcey’s spot next to judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli too?
Original head judge Len Goodman also spoke about the possibilities recently, but he was far more encouraging about Anton potentially filling the role.
“I have a feeling it will be another lady, [but] I would have liked them to give Anton a shot at it – because I like Anton, he is very knowledgable on ballroom dancing.”
“I think they are not going to have three men anymore and one lady, and they have already got Shirley, who I think does a lovely job.
“They are not going to have two ballroom experts on it, I don’t think so,” the dancer went on.
Anton has been a staple on the programme since 2004, yet there have been some major changes throughout the years.
While Len said he doesn’t think Anton will be given the opportunity to step up as a judge, he insisted there was a time when he believed the dancer should have had the spot.
“I think the best chance for him, was when I left,” Len explained. “And I thought he would be a natural to take over.”
Who will end up replacing Darcey Bussell ahead of this year’s series?
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One later this year.