From dance floor to desk: could Anton du Beke replace Len Goodman as Strictly judge?


Professional dancer Anton du Beke is favourite to replace Len Goodman as he steps down from his role as Strictly Come Dancing's head judge.

The popular dancer is at 2/1 to move from the dance floor to desk, having earned his stripes on the show since it began in 2004.

Anton du Beke: could he replace Len Goodman? (Ian West/PA)
Anton du Beke: could he replace Len Goodman? (Ian West/PA)

Having taken his fair share of criticism from the judges when partnered with ladies including Ann Widdecombe and Nancy Dell'Olio, perhaps it is time for Anton to give as good as he gets.

Len follows Top Gear's Chris Evans, England manager Roy Hodgson and Prime Minister David Cameron in leaving a coveted position open for applications.

So who could follow in his fancy footsteps? Here are some potential contenders.

Karen Hardy

Karen Hardy (Yui Mok/PA)
Karen Hardy (Yui Mok/PA)

The former Strictly pro is a world-renowned Latin American dancer with her own dance school, proving she has the chops to take on the celebrities' cha-cha-cha.

Karen regularly casts a critical eye over the show's dances on sister show It Takes Two in her Choreography Corner so it would be a hop, skip and a jump to the main show's judging panel.

Arlene Phillips

Arlene Phillips (Ian West/PA)
Arlene Phillips (Ian West/PA)

The campaign to bring Arlene back starts here. The veteran choreographer, 73, was dropped from the show in 2009 in favour of former contestant Alesha Dixon, 37.

Having made her name as the director of dance troupe Hot Gossip, her career includes choreographing the film Annie, music videos for the likes of Duran Duran and Whitney Houston, and West End classics including Starlight Express and Grease. A truly qualified choice.

Harry Judd

Harry Judd (David Jones/PA)
Harry Judd (David Jones/PA)

The McFly drummer proved he has rhythm after securing himself the glitterball trophy in 2011 with pro Aliona Vilani, plus winning a Children in Need special and last year's Christmas Special.

With that success behind him, Harry has a high chance of following in the footsteps of Alesha by moving from contestant to judge and sexing-up Len's seat a bit - if he can be dragged away from his band's tour.

Judy Murray

Judy Murray (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Judy Murray (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Len was possibly the only judge to offer Murray any kind words when she took to the dance floor in 2014. Dubbed "Nelson's column" by Bruno Tonioli, her stiff performance meant a brutal exit in week eight.

But having trained up son Andy to victory at Wimbledon, perhaps the tennis coach's talents lie in constructive criticism?

Carlos Acosta

Carlos Acosta (Zak Hussein/PA)
Carlos Acosta (Zak Hussein/PA)

Cuban ballet dancer Carlos retired from The Royal Ballet in November 2015 after 17 years. Having danced with many of the world's leading ballet companies, he is considered the greatest male dancer of his generation and a star choreographer.

With plenty of free time now in his schedule, Carlos could easily turn his eye to rumoured contestant Louise Redknapp's Paso doble.

Alfonso Ribeiro

Famed for his role as Carlton Banks in Will Smith's The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Alfonso even has a dance named after his character's smooth moves to Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual.

He performed "The Carlton" on America's Dancing With The Stars in 2014 and won the entire competition. He has even returned as a guest judge, so a hop across the pond could easily happen.

Boris Johnson

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What is glaringly absent from the current panel's rhetoric is Latin phrases. Step in Boris Johnson. The former London mayor is the perfect choice to take over the one-liners from Goodman.

As for his dancing knowledge, check out videos of him dad-dancing along to the Spice Girls at the Olympics closing ceremony as exhibit A.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans enjoys a dance at the Globe
Chris Evans enjoys a dance at the Globe (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Well, the radio presenter does have Sunday evenings wide open now he has stepped down from Top Gear.