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Bruno Tonioli’s stand-out Strictly moments as he quits after nearly two decades

Bruno Tonioli (PA)
Bruno Tonioli (PA)

Bruno Tonioli left an impression on the nation through his witty jabs and flamboyant moves while judging on Strictly Come Dancing over the past 18 years.

The 66-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer has now stepped down from the judging panel of the BBC One show.

Here are some of his stand-out Strictly moments over the years:

Strictly Come Dancing
Tonioli took a shine to McFly star Harry Judd during the dance competition (Guy Levy/BBC)

1. Tonioli took a particular shine to certain contestants including McFly’s Harry Judd, who went on to win the ninth series in 2011.

During one of his performances when Judd wore a fiery red, open-fronted shirt, he commented: “I think you’re overdressed for the occasion.”

He added: “You need a little bit of work on your bum, but we can talk about that later.”

2. Former Welsh rugby player Gavin Henson once gave a cheeky kiss to the Italian judge during one of his performances in the eighth series.

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson caught Tonioli’s eye (PA)

Tonioli responded with his classic theatrics by fanning himself and looking on longingly at Henson, adding: “Let’s do it again, let’s do it forever. You should be proud.”

3. Tonioli was also known for his scathing remarks on occasion, with one pointed comment to Italian reality TV star Nancy Dell’Olio during the Halloween special in series nine.

She emerged from a coffin dressed in a spiderweb-style dress at the beginning of the performance, but the routine was not to Tonioli’s taste.

He said: “Nancy, emerging from the coffin, looking like the Queen of the Night, but you danced like the walking dead.”

4. Former MP Ann Widdecombe also received a number of cutting remarks on her performances in 2010, including his description that she looked like a “lame canary” who was “flapping around the floor” when she performed in a bright yellow ballgown.

He added: “Never quite being able to take flight despite being spun around by Anton, you never ever took off.”

5. On occasions, Tonioli would steal the show with his theatrical moves by falling off his chair in delight or shock at a performance, leaving the rest of the judges’ panel and audience laughing hysterically.

One such moment occurred as fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood was offering his comments on Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara’s quickstep in 2018, but everyone was momentarily distracted by Tonioli.

After he dramatically fell on to the floor, host Tess Daly joked: “He was disagreeing with Craig.”

After checking if he was all right, Tonioli replied in his classic style by saying: “Yes, fabulous”.

6. In the last series he judged in person in 2019, Tonioli gave a memorable rendition of the classic track Can’t Take My Eyes Off You dressed in a white blazer and tie and black shirt.

He was accompanied by the Strictly professional dancers as he sang, wearing fuschia-pink suits and orange dresses while moving with feather fans.

Former professional dancer Anton Du Beke will be taking up Tonioli’s seat on the judging panel, the BBC announced.

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