14/07/2016 07:21 BST | Updated 14/07/2016 11:17 BST

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Professionals Anton Du Beke And Brendan Cole ‘In Battle To Replace Departing Head Judge Len Goodman’

This could get ugly.

Len Goodman might still have another series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ to preside over, but there is already a bit of battle for his job as head judge, according to reports.

The 72-year-old announced on Wednesday that he was quitting the show after this year’s series.

Now professional dancers Anton Du Beke and Brendan Cole are said to be locked in a behind-the-scenes battle to take Len’s seat on the judging panel.

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Anton Du Beke and Brendan Cole

According to The Sun, Anton believes he has the backing of Len himself and former presenter Sir Bruce Forsyth for the high profile job.

But Brendan, who is a judge on the New Zealand version of the show, thinks he has more relevant experience.

“Anton and Brendan have been with Strictly from the start and have been waiting for this opportunity,” a source told The Sun.

“Anton initially wanted to take over from Brucie when he quit as presenter. He doesn’t want to miss out on a big opportunity to join the judges.

“But Brendan is confident because he was a hit as a judge on the New Zealand version and thinks that was perfect grounding.”

As it stands at the moment, Anton is the early favourite with Ladbrokes making him 2/1 favourite to take a seat next to Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell on the judging panel. Brendan has odds of 20/1.

The source added: “Of course the bosses will look at all the options and would consider bringing in another woman.”

Doug Peters/Doug Peters
Len Goodman

Other ‘Strictly’ stars thought to be in the running include former pros Karen Hardy, Ian Waite and Erin Boag as well as former judge Arlene Phillips, former winner Tom Chambers and ‘It Takes Two’ presenter Zoe Ball.

Explaining his decision to quit, Len 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.”

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