strictly come dancing

This year's Strictly Come Dancing line-up for the judges has been confirmed

Will Shirley Ballas return as head judge?

Sharnaz Shahid

Strictly Come Dancing star Craig Revel Horwood has confirmed he will return to the popular ballroom show later this year – and he will be joined by last year's judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Shirley Ballas, who will return to the panel as head judge. "Shirley is back with us, which will be great," Craig told Express.co.uk. "Bruno is back and being more Italian than ever. And of course the fabulous Darcey Bussell. I think it is a great team and it was really good last year, I can't wait to get back into it."

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Last year's judges are returning to Strictly

Craig, who has appeared on every Strictly series since its inception in 2004, went on to offer his thoughts on Shirley. "I thought Shirley was a fantastic choice as head judge," he added. "It's great having a woman in that position as well because we have a very even amount of commenting which I think is fantastic." The comments come shortly after Shirley, 57, revealed to HELLO! that she would love to make a return. "I hope to be back, I’d like to, but as yet nothing's official," she said. "My critiques will always remain firm. I will say it as I see it, though you can’t help but get emotionally attached to the couples."

GALLERY: Meet the professional dancers in Strictly's biggest ever line-up

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Last week, the BBC announced the new professional line-up, which includes three brand-new pro dancers appear in the line-up. This means the show will have a bigger professional cast than ever before - bringing the total to 18. Brendan Cole and fellow dancer Chloe Hewitt are the only two to miss out on a contract renewal, while all other favourites - including Karen Clifton, Aljaž Škorjanec and Anton Du Beke- will return. Louise Rainbow, who is executive producer on Strictly, said at the time: "A huge thank you goes to Brendan from all of us for 15 amazing series of Strictly. We wish him all the very best with his future projects. We would also like to thank Chloe and wish her well."

Exclusive: Shirley Ballas opens up about relationship with Brendan Cole

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