VERNON Kay is one of the hot favourites to take over as co-host of Strictly Come Dancing - after it was announced that Sir Bruce Forsyth was stepping down as presenter of the hit BBC One series.

The Bolton star would join his wife Tess Daly on the show if he stepped into Brucies shoes.

Bookmaker William Hill installed Claudia Winkleman as favourite to replace the outgoing host.
She has stood in for him and has been co-presenter of the results show.

The bookmaker puts her at 2/1, with professional dancer Anton du Beke at 3/1 to step up as Brucie's successor. Tess's husband Vernon is a 4/1 shot.

Rupert Hill, spokesman for the firm, said: "Brucie is an iconic fixture in the history of Strictly but given his advancing years, the BBC were always going to have a replacement in mind.

"Claudia was a great stand in last year while Anton is a massive favourite with Strictly's legion of followers."

Sir Bruce said it was the "right time to step down from the rigours" of hosting the live shows which have become a Saturday night ratings winner.

However he will continue to work on pre-recorded Strictly shows for Christmas and Children In Need as well as one-off BBC specials, and said he will also be performing in theatres.

Sir Bruce said today: "After 10 wonderful years and 11 series, I believe it is now the right time to step down from the rigours of presenting the Strictly live shows.

"I am very proud of what the show has achieved and confident it will entertain the nation for many years to come. I am also delighted that by presenting the Christmas and Children In Need shows I will continue to have a strong association with Strictly.

"In addition, I am looking forward to the specials planned with the BBC as well as some live theatre shows, so before anyone asks, I am not retiring quite yet."

Sir Bruce's co-host Tess Daly said today: "It's been an absolute pleasure and a privilege working alongside Bruce for the last decade.

"He's a TV legend, a total gentleman and someone my family and I are honoured to call a true friend. We've spoken about it, and he knows how much I love him and how much he'll be missed - but he's not going to escape me that easily, as we'll be keeping him dancing when we're reunited for the Children in Need and Christmas specials."

Vernon tweeted: "Sir Brucie stepping down from Strictly. True gent and TV icon. More golf now Brucie?!"