Bruno Tonioli will be absent from Strictly Come Dancing judging panel

Bruno Tonioli will be missing from the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel for Saturday night shows when the series returns later this year, it has been confirmed.

The judge is currently in Los Angeles, where he is on the panel for the US version of the show Dancing With The Stars, and will not be able to travel back and forth because of the seriousness of the pandemic in the US.

However, he will be involved remotely in the Sunday night results show each week and will return to the show full time towards the end of the series.

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Tonioli said: “I absolutely adore being part of Strictly and can’t wait to see what incredible dancing this year has in store.

“Lockdown has resulted in me being in LA for the foreseeable, but I’m excited to be involved as much as I possibly can. There was no cha-cha-chance I’d miss out.”

Sarah James, executive producer for Strictly Come Dancing, added: “I’m overjoyed that we’ve found a way for Bruno to be part of this year’s Strictly.

“His passion and enthusiasm are such a big part of the show, I’m thrilled we can continue to deliver that to audiences this year.”

Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood are all expected to return to their judging roles when the show returns.

The series will be shorter in 2020 because of precautions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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The show would usually be expected to return at the end of September, with the final just before Christmas, but its 2020 launch is now expected to be slightly delayed.

It was recently announced that the show will pay tribute to Caroline Flack in a one-off special episode.

The television presenter, who won the 2014 series of the BBC One dancing competition, killed herself in February.

The programme, which will celebrate past Strictly winners, will feature a tribute to Flack.

Strictly: The Best Of The Final will also “celebrate the finalists, the emotion and the incredible routines” that have featured in the last round of the competition, according to the BBC.

Other specials including The Best Of Movies, The Best Of Blackpool and The Best Of Musicals will also be broadcast by the BBC.