Sir Bruce Forsyth says his decision to walk away from Strictly Come Dancing was prompted by his own private concerns for his health should he continue fronting the BBC show.

“You do start to feel a bit stale, like a bit of fruit you’ve put in a bowl,” he told The Sun. “You look at it one day and you think, ‘Oh, that’s going off’.’’

Sir Bruce, 86, who co-presented the show with Tess Daly for 11 years, admits the rigours of working on Strictly were becoming too much to bear, and as he watched Abbey Clancy dance her way to victory on the last series, he started to think seriously about his exit.

He said: “I had to announce each couple, run upstairs for their dance, rush down to talk to the judges, rush upstairs for the scores, rush down to introduce the next pair.  If there were 16 couples I would do that 40 or 50 times a show.

“When you are working the adrenaline gets you through. I never came off asking for an oxygen mask. But I knew at the end of the last series it would be the end for me.”

Claudia Winkleman has since been confirmed as the entertainer’s replacement having already fronted the results show with Tess for the last three years.

“I have loved Strictly since the second it appeared on our screens and I am honoured and thrilled to now be part of the Saturday night team,” Claudia said.

“Working alongside Tess is always fantastic and I can’t wait to spend the weekends with her, our amazing dancers and the greatest judging panel on the planet.

“Sir Bruce is a living legend and we’ll all miss him very much.”

A new series of Strictly Come Dancing will begin on BBC1 in the autumn.