Anton Du Beke bookies' favourite for judging panel when Len Goodman steps down

Updated: 

Strictly Come Dancing veteran Anton Du Beke could feature on the hit show as a professional dancer for the final time on Saturday night.

Anton, 50, is the favourite to join the judging panel after the departure of head judge Len Goodman.

The dancer is tipped to replace the 72-year-old by bookies, with William Hill offering odds at 4/6 and Ladbrokes pricing him at evens.

Strictly Come Dancing Launch 2016 - Hertfordshire

He has been on the show since it started, having partnered with actress Lesley Joseph this series, and frequently takes centre stage in group routines.

It is thought that one of the current judges - Bruno Tonioli, 46, Darcey Bussell, 47, or Craig Revel Horwood, 51 - could be promoted into the head judge role while another person takes their spot on the panel.

Karen Hardy, 46, who was a professional dancer on the show from 2005 to 2008 and won with cricketer Mark Ramprakash in 2006, is breathing down Anton's neck as William Hill prices her at 3/1 to replace Len.

Len Goodman
Len Goodman (Ray Burmiston/PA)

Karen regularly casts a critical eye over the show's dances on sister show It Takes Two in her Choreography Corner so is only a hop, skip and a jump from the judging desk.

Brendan Cole, who was partnered with Anastacia this year, has also been tipped for the role and has admitted he would "love" to step into Len's dancing shoes.

Brendan, who was a judge on the New Zealand version of the series, is at 5/1 at William Hill.

Karen Hardy
Karen would feel right at home on the judging panel (Yui Mok/PA)

Ian Waite, 45, joined the show as a professional dancer in 2004 and partnered with stars including Zoe Ball, Jodie Kidd and Penny Lancaster-Stewart.

He returned in 2010 to partner Michelle Williams when Brendan was unable to perform following the death of his father and has since performed on tours and Christmas specials.

He is at 10/1 at William Hill, just ahead of former judge and veteran choreographer Arlene Phillips, 73, (12/1), who was dropped from the show in 2009 in favour of former contestant Alesha Dixon, 38.

Brendan Cole.
Brendan Cole (Ian West/PA)

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.

Other former professional stars of the show in the running include Gleb Savchenko, who quit the programme earlier this year, Ola Jordan, who recently left the I'm A Celebrity jungle, Robin Windsor and Erin Boag.

At 50/1 is Andrew Lloyd Webber while series 14 fan favourite and former shadow chancellor Ed Balls can be backed at 100/1.

Arlene Phillips and Len Goodman
Arlene Phillips and Len Goodman (David Parry/PA)