Former professional footballer Peter Crouch will join the judging panel of the second series of The Masked Dancer.
The ex-England striker is stepping in for Mo Gilligan on the panel, as the comedian is unavailable due to touring commitments, ITV have announced.
He will be seated alongside last year’s celebrity detectives, Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse, broadcaster Jonathan Ross and TV presenter Davina McCall, as the series returns later this year.
Crouch said: “The show is a firm favourite in our household and when asked I jumped at the chance to take part.
“I am competitive and I’m currently scrolling through friends’ socials looking for those tell-tale dance moves.
“Another plus is, by being on the panel, my social media, family and friends won’t be constantly speculating that I’m hiding behind one of the masks.”
Gilligan added that he was “gutted” to be missing most of the series due to working in the US, as he loved being a part of the team.
He added: “But I’ve got the perfect sub to take my place. A legend on and off the pitch and one of the nicest guys in the industry, Crouchy knows a thing or two about fancy footwork, we’ve got this.”
The comedian is due to join the judging panel for a surprise appearance at some point during the series, alongside other special guests throughout the run.
After the success of the first series, the celebrity dance competition announced it would return for a second series in 2022, promising to be the “most bonkers” yet.
The series will see 12 new celebrity contestants perform dance routines while disguised in extravagant and outrageous costumes, as the star panel tries to guess their identities.
Comedian and presenter Joel Dommett will once again host the show.
Dommett said: “It’s so great to be back for some dancing and guessing. I’m super excited to find out who is dancing behind the masks.
“We’re losing Mo for some episodes – but we have Peter ‘the Robot’ Crouch to fill his much smaller shoes. I’m very excited as I’ve always looked up to him in his career and because he is massive.”
Series one saw Olympic gymnast Louis Smith crowned the winner after he was unmasked as the character Carwash.
Smith saw off competition from actresses Tamzin Outhwaite and Bonnie Langford, and Take That star Howard Donald, during the finale.
Professional dancer Mabuse said she loved being a part of the show last year and that she was “so excited” to see this year’s characters.
McCall agreed that she cannot wait to return to the show, describing it as “bonkers but utterly brilliant”.
Presenter Ross added: “As the current reigning champion amongst the panel I will be using my expert knowledge in all things dance to take the title again.
“Who knows, this year my dream might come true and Mary Berry might just be behind one of the masks.”
The show is a spin-off of the hit series The Masked Singer, which returned for a third series on New Year’s Day, with singer Natalie Imbruglia being crowned victor after performing in disguise as Panda throughout the series.
The forthcoming series will be produced by Bandicoot Scotland, part of Argonon, and executive produced by Derek McLean, Daniel Nettleton and Claire Horton.
The Masked Dancer second series will air later this year.