Bruno’s Strictly future in doubt as Craig backs Anton to stay

Bruno, 66, was replaced on the panel by Anton, 55, when Covid restrictions made it difficult for the Italian choreographer to fly between the UK and the US, where he is also a judge on Dancing With The Stars.

But Craig, 57, is backing former dancer Anton to carry on scoring when Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screens later this year.

He said: “I am so pleased he is a judge now finally.

“There are only so many years you can be on the front row with the dancing…I was pleased they got him off the dance floor and put him where he belongs. So bravo,Anton!

“I hope he comes back next year, I am sure he will.”

Strictly stalwarts Bruno, Anton and Craig have all been on the BBC show since it began in 2004.

But during the pandemic in 2020, Bruno appeared via video link. And last year he stepped aside for Anton. Rumours are now rife he could be axed.

Craig, Strictly’s most outspoken judge, also raised the prospect of dancer Brendan Cole returning.

He said: “I love lippy people. That is why I sort of miss Brendan.”

And he revealed Anne Widdecombe, 74, ex-Tory MP and Brexit Party MEP, was his favourite contestant, despite taking issue with her hair.

He said: “I do laugh about Anne. I don’t care for her politics, in any way shape or form. Or her haircut – she could have put a roller in it!

“But we did dance together at the big arena tour, which I choreograph.

“I gotAnne to dance with me and it was hilarious…We brought the house down and got a standing ovation.”

Craig has only missed one episode of Strictly – when he had Covid in November. But he nearly turned down the job.

He said: “I thought it would never work and would be absolutely awful.”

But in the end, the show paid for his posh home.

Speaking during his All Balls And Glitter UK tour, at The Point Theatre, in Eastleigh, Hants, he told fans: “Thank you for paying your TV licences – as I have got a huge manor house.”

Write move, Shirley

STRICTLY judge Shirley Ballas has taken off her dancing shoes to write a murder mystery novel, a pal revealed.

Former This Morning host Eamonn Holmes said: “She tells me it’s a labour of love, as she has a complete fixation with crime stories and whodunnits.”

He added: “Although you may think, ‘How does she find time for her writing?’, she sees it as a form of relaxation.

“With an attitude like that, I’d give her a 10.”

Shirley, 61, has been head judge on Strictly since 2017.

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