Bruno Tonioli rules out appearing in person to judge this year's Strictly Come Dancing

BRUNO Tonioli has ruled out appearing in person on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, leaving just three judges to give their scores.

The 65-year-old has told pals he cannot juggle the BBC1 show with US version Dancing with the Stars.

He films both at the same time in an exhausting trans-atlantic to-and-fro — and travel is again likely to be made more difficult by the Covid pandemic.

Beeb bosses told US-based Bruno, who missed last year’s show, that he had to commit to this year’s series to receive his full £250,000 pay.

But a source close to the Italian said: “Bruno can’t commit to both shows right now and is staying put in LA — it’s a better lifestyle there, with great weather, which is good for his health.

“He earns close to £1million a series in America, so he has to prioritise that.

“Of course, he’s still very much part of the Strictly family and is keen to appear on a video link several times through the series.”

Beeb bosses will keep Bruno’s seat for him to return next year and are unlikely to replace him temporarily with veteran pro Anton Du Beke, 54.

Instead, they are likely to stick with the three remaining judges Shirley Ballas, 60, Craig Revel Horwood, 56, and Motsi Mabuse, 39.

The source added last night: “Of course, Bruno will be back — he’s irreplaceable.”

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