Anton du Beke would be 'spot on' as Strictly judge, says Vincent Simone
Former Strictly star Vincent Simone believes his friend Anton du Beke would be "spot on" as a judge on the show.
There will be a vacancy on the panel when long-time head judge Len Goodman steps down after this year's series.
Du Beke, who has been a dancer on the show since it launched in 2004, is one of the favourites to take over.
Simone, who left Strictly Come Dancing's line-up of professional dancers after the 2012 series, said: "Anton is one of my best friends, and we all know what Anton says is funny, it's clever, he's been in the show, he's been through everything, so it would be amazing to see him.
"To see a next professional dancer would be great, definitely, because you need someone who knows exactly what the technique is about, about every single step."
He told the Press Association: " Anton would be spot on."
Simone, whose partners on the show included Rachel Stevens, Edwina Currie and Dani Harmer, said he would miss Goodman because he was a true ballroom and Latin expert.
But he said the change could be a good thing.
"For me it's exciting because I do like changes," he said.
"It gives you an incentive to watch the show even more, if anything. So it doesn't bother me when changes happen. Things evolve. So it's a good, positive thing."
Simone, who left the show alongside his professional dance partner Flavia Cacace to focus on other opportunities, d ismissed the idea that ITV's new big-budget rival to BBC hit Strictly could be a competitor.
It was revealed last week that ITV is planning to launch Dance Dance Dance next year.
Simone said: " I don't think there's anything that can compete against Strictly, to be honest. I know they've tried before, but Strictly's Strictly.
"They've got about nine million people watching Strictly no matter what. It could be the end of the world and they're still going to be sitting there on a Saturday night watching Strictly."
Meanwhile, Simone surprised some young Strictly fans taking classes at the Playhouse in Derry, Northern Ireland, giving them a spontaneous salsa lesson.
The Playhouse is waiting to hear whether it has won a National Lottery Award.
The dancer, who is an ambassador for the awards, said: "They showed me what they had learnt. And then I decided to give them a little mini masterclass.
"They were really good, they were listening. Most of them do watch Strictly and I told them to keep an eye out for salsa when it comes back."