RTÉ has today confirmed that Dancing with the Stars judge Julian Benson will not be attending the first two shows of the series due to illness.

He is set to be replaced by guest judge and creative director Darren Bennett.

Benson also missed a few shows last year when he had a bout of pneumonia. It was Bennett who filled in then too.

Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne will return once again to present Dancing with the Stars, which kicks off this Sunday on RTÉ One, while there will be eleven celebrities in total pairing up with their professional dancing partners. They are Deirdre O'Kane, Marty Morrissey, Bernard O'Shea, Maia Dunphy, Norah Casey, Erin McGregor, Aoife Walsh, Jake Carter, Robert Heffernan, Tomas O'Leary and Anna Geary.

Each pairing will have a different dancing genre to master every week from the Paso Doble to the waltz and they’ll have just seven days to perfect their routine before performing live to the nation.

All contestants will be safe for the first two shows but following that, one celeb and their dancing partner will leave the competition each week until the final on Sunday 25th March.