Bruno Tonioli thinks the lack of "big production" on this year's Strictly Come Dancing will highlight the "better dancers".

Bruno Tonioli will return to Strictly 2020 virtually in a reduced capacity

Bruno Tonioli will return to Strictly 2020 virtually in a reduced capacity

The 64-year-old judge believes dancers' quality will be "enhanced even more" this year compared with previous series because contestants won't have as many backing dancers among them during their routines.

He told The Sun newspaper: "This year will favour the better dancers because the focus is entirely on them as there won't be the same level of big production and 25 people dancing alongside them.

"You can tart up a fake as much as you want but the centre stone has to catch the light and has to be the real thing. If you have that quality it will be enhanced even more, so it will be even better for you."

The dance competition is to go ahead later this year, but it is thought a live studio audience is unlikely, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And Bruno admitted that could have a big impact when a dance routine flops.

He added: "Having no audience means that you have to dig much deeper to create that sense of excitement and drama and comedy because you don't have the instant reaction if you crack a joke."

Bruno has spent lockdown in Los Angeles where he films the US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, and as a result he won't be back for this year's Strictly in person - but he has a new role to look forward to.

He said: "I won't be part of the main show giving scores as I'm not in the studio. That would be unfair and also it's a bit naff, as I wouldn't be able to see the overall picture of the dances. You have to be there to do that.

"So they are sending me a link featuring all the dances which I'll watch and then give my tips and opinions that will be shown in the results show later on. I'll leave the scores for the three other judges. They know what they're doing."