Bruce Forsyth Leaves Strictly Come Dancing, Who Will Replace Him? – after the BBC1 controller publicly announced she was going to talk to Sir Bruce about his future on the show (see our article from 10 March) it was no surprise to hear today that the 86-year old presenter will not be returning to co-host the show later this year.
Although there are plenty of tributes being paid to Brucie today the main topic of conversation has been who will be the person to step into his shoes on the show?
This is not a new topic and we have discussed it on a couple of occasions here with mostly the same names coming up each time with the odd outside bet thrown in. Without any doubt if the BBC are looking for a straight one for one replacement then the man must be dance pro Anton Du Beke. He has variously been described as a “young Bruce” or a “Bruce lite” and he certainly has the necessary dance knowledge having been in every series of Strictly since it started in 2004 (only New Zealander Brendan Cole has also been in all 11 series of Strictly). At 47-years old one wonders how many more series of the show Anton wants or is able to do anyway as it is known for being physically demanding and presenting would undoubtedly be an easier option, physically at least.
There is definitely plenty of competition for the job though and the other main contender is Claudia Winkleman who has been presenting the Sunday results show with Tess Daly since Bruce stopped doing both shows back in 2010. Claudia is a very popular presenter and has done very well in the last couple of years when she has stood in for Bruce both when he had scheduled time off in the series and also when she stood in at the last-minute when he was taken ill. As well as being very funny and quick-witted she has an obvious rapport with co-host Tess Daly and this may stand her in good stead when they look at a full-time replacement.
Other names being mentioned are Tess Daly’s husband Vernon Kay, who would seem a long shot as we don’t imagine Tess would take kindly to having to lose the title of presenter of the most popular tv show in the house. There is also the matter of childcare as Tess and Vernon work on their shows at different times of the year so there is always one of them able to devote time to their 2 young daughters and provide some parental continuity.
Other possibles are John Barrowman and Graham Norton. Although a good dancer and highly popular we are not sure that John Barrowman would be a good fit with Tess and Graham Norton lacks any dance knowledge which would put him at a disadvantage. You can also add to this the fact that Norton earns a hefty salary already and doesn’t need either the extra cash or exposure.
Some have suggested that comedian Ronnie Corbett may be a possible replacement but as he is also on his 80’s and has recently had some health problems this seems very unlikely indeed. No doubt if he had been approached when he was younger he would have jumped at the chance and would have been a popular choice.
All in all it would seem that the sensible option would be to go with Claudia Winkleman who has a proven track record on the show and plenty of energy. She and Tess get on well and unless the producers are set on going with a male/female co-presenting pair then this seems the most likely outcome. There is of course the Takes Two presenter Zoe Ball who should be considered but she has not been mentioned by anyone despite being very popular and as well as having good Strictly knowledge from her time on Takes Two, she is also a former Strictly competitor, having finished in 3rd place in series 3 of the show back in 2005.
Of course in these cash-strapped times another option for the BBC is to just keep Tess Daly on as the sole presenter of the show. This could give them quite a saving as back in 2012 Bruce was earning £500k per series, a figure 4 times Tess Daly’s Strictly paycheck of £125k.