Claudia Winkleman will step in after Sir Bruce Forsyth has pulled out of hosting the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special for health reasons, it has been confirmed. The veteran TV star, 87, underwent a procedure on an abdominal aortic aneurysm just last month – and with the Christmas Day show scheduled to be filmed next week, it is too soon for Sir Bruce "to have made a full recovery", the BBC said.
"Due to the long studio hours, he is unable to host the show, but will still play a part in the production," a statement from the broadcaster read.
Sir Bruce Forsyth is unable to take part in the 2015 Strictly Christmas special
Regular presenter Claudia joins Tess Daly in hosting the festive programme.
In spite of his ill health, the iconic entertainer was determined to appear in the Christmas special in some capacity, however. "Sir Bruce will record a special video message for this year's celebrity line-up and viewers at home, which will play out when the Strictly Christmas Special airs on BBC One on Christmas Day at 6.15pm," the statement revealed.
Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will instead front the show
Sir Bruce left his role as Strictly presenter in April 2014, but has returned to take part in a number of special episodes since. He last appeared on the dancing competition on 13 November, to appear in the BBC's Children in Need fundraiser, which was recorded ahead of his operation.
The annual Strictly Christmas show will feature three of the programme's previous winners: Abbey Clancy, Harry Judd and Tom Chambers, alongside war veteran Cassidy Little - who won the The People's Strictly for Comic Relief - TV star Alison Hammond and radio DJ Lisa Snowdon. The show will also include a special performance by Dame Shirley Bassey.
Professional dancers Pasha Kovalev, Brendan Cole and Robin Windsor will partner the ladies, with Natalie Lowe, Oti Mabuse and Joanne Clifton partnering the male contestants.