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

Some of Strictly Come Dancing’s best-loved professional dancers, including Anton Du Beke, Karen Hardy and Ian Waite, have been tipped to waltz from the dancefloor to the desk when head judge Len Goodman steps down at the end of the current series.

Anton, 50, is the favourite to join the judging panel, with bookmaker William Hill offering 3/1 odds and Coral offering 5/4.

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, 61, 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, 46, who was a professional dancer on the show from 2005 to 2008 and won with cricketer Mark Ramprakash in 2006, is at 10/1 to replace Len at William Hill and 5/1 at Coral.

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.

Ian, 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 Cole was unable to perform following the death of his father and has since performed on tours and Christmas specials.

He is at 6/1 at Coral and 12/1 at William Hill, along with former judge and veteran choreographer Arlene Phillips, 73, who 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.

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 20/1 at William Hill.

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.

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