Strictly's Tess Daly says absent co-star 'will be missed' during BBC show's launch tonight

Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly has said that she will miss a certain co-star, who will sadly be absent during this evening’s launch.

Bruno Tonioli has been a constant on the BBC show since it first began in 2004, but for the first time won’t be appearing on this series at all.

The 65-year-old, who lives in LA and still judges on the US’ Dancing With The Stars, was unable to be on the judging panel of the 2020 series due to Covid restrictions, but still appeared via video link on Sunday nights.

This year, however, he has been replaced by former pro Anton Du Beke, who will take his place at the panel and give out marks to hopeful celebs and their partners.

Speaking about Anton’s appearance on the show, Tess said: “Anton is a brilliant addition to the judging panel.

“He brings experience as, after all, he has stood in the shoes of the professionals with a celebrity dance partner.”

She continued to say that Anton – who has appeared on the show as a pro for 17 years – was the best possible replacement for Bruno.

Tess said: “I think he will be really constructive with his feedback. I love him to bits and I’m thrilled to have him there.

© BBC Strictly judges Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas

“Bruno will be missed of course, but he is staying in America as he can’t travel due to restrictions.”

The former judge himself previously joked about Anton replacing him, but said that he had given him his blessing.

Bruno quipped: “Whilst I am gutted to not be on the show this year there is one person and one person only that could take my place – it’s just a shame they weren’t available…haha!

“Darlings I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Seriously though, I have to tell you, Anton IS Mr Strictly and if anybody is filling in for me, it has to be him.

“I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way and I am so excited to see him waggle his paddle.”

*Strictly Come Dancing airs tonight at 7pm on BBC One

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