Len Goodman to quit Strictly Come Dancing - but who should replace him?

Len Goodman will step down after the next series of Strictly. Picture: Press Association.
Len Goodman will step down after the next series of Strictly. Picture: Press Association.

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman is to step down after the next series, the BBC has announced.

The 72-year-old has led the judging panel since the show started 12 years ago.

He will be joined by fellow judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood for his final series, as well as presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.

Goodman will not be retiring and will continue his shows on Radio Two.

Read more: Eight cracking one-liners from Strictly judge Len Goodman

He said: " In 2004, I was asked to take part in a brand new BBC Saturday night show and who would have thought me, old Len Goodman, would still be part of this amazing series more than 10 years on?

"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.

"It is an honour being part of the wonderful Strictly Come Dancing family and I'm looking forward to my last series very much and to whatever comes next."

The BBC said it was too early to comment on any speculation about who would replace Goodman for the 2017 series.

Charlotte Moore, director of content at BBC, said: "After 12 years, our wonderful head judge Len has decided it's time to hang up his Strictly Come Dancing shoes!

"I know we are all going to miss him tremendously, but I also know Len's final series is going to be full of unmissable moments and I hope audiences will give him the special send-off he so deserves."

Louise Rainbow, executive producer of Strictly Come Dancing, said: "We are absolutely delighted that Tess, Claudia and our judges are all returning for another year. Whilst we will be sad to say goodbye to Len, as our way of saying thank you, we are all determined to make this series the most spectacular, most glittery and entertaining yet."

The show will return to BBC One this autumn.

Goodman, who has also served as a judge on the American version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, announced he was leaving the US production in 2015 due to his schedule on Strictly and the birth of his grandchild.

However, after a series away, he returned to the panel, alongside Tonioli, Julianne Hough and Carrie Ann Inaba.

The new series of Strictly will see a raft of new professional dancers joining the line-up after the departures of Gleb Savchenko, Aliona Vilani, Ola Jordan, Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus.

They will be replaced by Russian Katya Jones, a world champion, Ukrainian champion Oksana Platero and top Spanish dance professional Gorka Marquez, the BBC said.

They will join returning dancers Anton Du Beke, Brendan Cole, Kevin Clifton, Pasha Kovalev, Aljaz Skorjanec, Giovanni Pernice, Karen Clifton, Natalie Lowe, Joanne Clifton, Janette Manrara and Oti Mabuse.