Bruce Forsyth leaves Strictly Come Dancing

The dance floor king will still be back for one-off specials of the show

Sir Bruce Forsyth is to step down from presenting Strictly Come Dancing after a decade fronting the hit BBC1 Saturday night show.

Sir Bruce, 86, said that he was not retiring and would continue to present the Strictly Christmas Special as well as other spin-offs from the series.

The showbusiness veteran, who was knighted in 2011, missed a number of shows last series due to illness.

He quit the results show in 2010 and was replaced by Claudia Winkleman, who may be given a more prominent role when the series returns this Autumn.

Sir Bruce said: “After 10 wonderful years and 11 series, I believe it is now the right time to step down from the rigours of presenting the Strictly live shows.

“I am very proud of what the show has achieved and confident it will entertain the nation for many years to come. I am also delighted that by presenting the Christmas and Children in Need shows I will continue to have a strong association with Strictly.

“In addition, I am looking forward to the specials planned with the BBC as well as some live theatre shows, so before anyone asks... I am not retiring quite yet!”

 

No Strictly replacement was named for Sir Bruce. His departure gives the BBC an opportunity to refresh the show as it faces a renewed ratings challenge from The X Factor, which has restored Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole to its judging line-up.

Candidates to take over the Strictly role could include Graham Norton, Rufus Hound, Vernon Kay, husband of co-host Tess Daly, or even former Come Dancing host Sir Terry Wogan if the BBC wishes to pair Daly with another old-hand.

Mark Linsey, controller of entertainment commissioning, said: “One of the joys of my job is working with Sir Bruce Forsyth and long may that continue.

“He is the all-time master and commander when it comes to Great British entertainers and Strictly owes him such a great deal. This is not a farewell, but you can’t blame him for wanting to take things a little bit easier.”

Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One, said: “Sir Bruce Forsyth is one of the great showbiz legends of our time and Strictly’s success is due in vast amounts to him. I am so pleased he will continue to be part of the Strictly family and promise viewers that we haven't seen the last of him on BBC One.”

The announcement that Sir Bruce is stepping down comes a week after he gave a long and occasionally rambling acceptance speech at the Broadcasting Press Guild awards in front of senior BBC executives.

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