Essex-born dancer Gary Edwards, who appears on Dancing With The Stars: All Access, is now the bookies favourite to take over from Len Goodman

Gary Edwards has become the “clear favourite” to replace Len Goodman as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

Gary, who appears on Dancing With The Stars: All Access, a spin-off to the American version of Strictly, is now priced at evens ahead of the show’s pro-dancer Anton du Beke.

As a youngster, the Essex-born dancer attended the same ballroom dance classes as Len and now boasts around 30 international titles, including British Open Ballroom and British Open Latin. He worked as a celebrity/VIP dance teacher for the Royal Family of Brunei for five years, dancing with the likes of Michael and Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Barry White and MC Hammer.

Len Goodman on Strictly

Len, 72, bowed out of the BBC1 dance contest at the end of the last series in December and there has been speculation about who will take his seat on the panel.

In February Gary spoke about his hopes of becoming a judge but told ITV’s This Morning he had not heard from the BBC.

However bookies William Hill have now cut Gary’s odds from 6/4 to evens ahead of Anton at 2/1, while Australian dancer Jason Gilkison is priced at 3/1.

Gary Edwards on This Morning

Brendan Cole (8/1) and Karen Hardy (14/1) are also in the running while Formula One racer Jenson Button is at 2/1 to take part as a celebrity dancer in this year’s show.

Karen Hardy above

William Hill’s Joe Crilly said: “When betting first opened on this market, we were almost certain that Anton would be taking over from Len.

“However, a consistent gamble on Gary Edwards has meant that he is now the clear favourite and while there has been no word from the BBC, we feel that an announcement will come very soon given how much attention this market has received recently.”