Strictly Come Dancing: Who will replace Len Goodman?

Dancers Anton du Beke and Brendan Cole both tipped for the job as the head judge bows out after 12 years

Len Goodman
(Image credit: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

After 12 years chairing the judges of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Len Goodman is retiring from the show.

"This adventure began when I was 60 and now that I've reached my 70s, I've decided after this year it's time to hand the role of head judge to someone else," he told the BBC.

"I'm looking forward to my last series very much and to whatever comes next."

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So who will replace the stalwart?

Anton du Beke

The 49-year-old professional dancer has partnered celebrities on the show since it began in 2004. He judged a one-off non-celebrity version for Children In Need last year and is Goodman's own choice of replacement, says the Daily Mirror.

According to The Sun, Du Beke believes he also has the approval of former host Sir Bruce Forsyth. Added to that, he is the bookies' firm favourite, with Ladbroke's offering 2/1 on him taking Goodman's seat.

Brendan Cole

Like Du Beke, Cole has been a Strictly dancer from the start, although the 40-year-old New Zealander has more presenting experience: he judged the NZ show Dancing with the Stars from 2005 to 2009.

According to the Daily Mail, Cole and Du Beke are "battling" to replace Goodman, but the newspaper says it is "seen as more likely" that one of the current judges - Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood or Darcey Bussell - will become new head judge.

Karen Hardy

With odds of 7/1 by Ladbroke's, Hardy, 46, would help balance the panel's gender make-up. A professional dancer on the show, she has partnered boxer Evander Holyfield and chef Gary Rhodes, among others, and runs her own dance studio in London.

Ian Waite

The 45-year-old professional teamed up with the likes of Zoe Ball, Denise Lewis and Jodie Kidd during his time on the show. He has some presenting experience, fronting an episode of magazine programme Inside Out for BBC South, which followed the progress of a pair of young ballroom dancers.

Also tipped for the job are choreographer Louie Spence and former Strictly champion Tom Chambers.

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