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New favourite emerges as Len Goodman's replacement judge on Strictly

by Emmy Griffiths

Gary Edwards has become the bookies' favourite to replace Len Goodman as the new judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

William Hill currently have 2/1 odds that the dance champion will be offered the coveted role, while Anton Du Beke is also a promising candidate with 4/6 odds. Other stars with great odds include Karen Hardy (3/1), Brendon Cole (10/1) and Ian Waite (12/1). Speaking about the likelihood that Gary will become Strictly's new judge, spokesperson to William Hill Rupert Adams said: "Anton's promotion to the judging panel looked a done deal but suddenly Gary has appeared on the scene and Anton could well miss out." Gary has already had considerable experience judging dancing competitions, and has also taught celebrities including Barry White, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson how to dance.

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Len has stepped down as judge

The six-foot-four star, who is known as the 'Ballroom giant', has previously spoken about how he would judge differently from Len prior to joining the US reality show Dancing with the Stars. He told Broadway Showbiz: "I have known Len most of my life, and I have always considered him a friend. We have similar personalities! I would be more tolerant of the music and give more rhythmical license. I would, however, probably be even stricter on the fundamentals!"

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Anton du Beke is among those tipped to replace Len

Strictly co-host Tess Daly has revealed that the new judge should be announced by April. Speaking backstage at the National Television awards, she said: "We don't know. There are a few people in the mix. It's still under discussion. I'd imagine by the end of April we'll have some news." Brendan Cole has previously revealed how much he'd love to be considered for the role, telling BANG Showbiz: "I would love his job. I don't think there are many people who don't want his job. It's a fantastic job because you never get kicked off. It's fantastic. The BBC will choose whoever is right for the show. I'm hoping that they'll be considering me while making that decision."