Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Come Dancing: Darcey Bussell quits as judge

Darcey Bussell Image copyright PA

Dame Darcey Bussell is to step down from her role as a judge on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing.

She has been a member of the judging panel for seven series, having joined in 2012.

Dame Darcey said she was "not leaving because of any upset or disagreement", but to focus on "other commitments".

She added: "It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly, working with such a talented team."

It has not yet been announced who will replace her on the show.

Dame Darcey's statement in full

Image caption Strictly judges L-R: Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli, Shirley Ballas and Dame Darcey Bussell

"It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly, working with such a talented team.

"I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dancers, the musicians, the entire backstage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive.

"I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement at all, I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can't imagine having gone any better."

Writing on Twitter, fellow judge Shirley Ballas said: "We've had the most laughs and fun times on the show. Today is certainly the end of an era.

"Thank you for holding my hand all the way and being such an incredible friend... It just wont be the same without you!"

Dame Darcey became a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet in 1989 at the age of 20.

After becoming widely acclaimed as one of the greatest British ballerinas, she retired in 2007.

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Media captionDame Darcey Bussell first appeared as a guest judge in 2009

Dame Darcey joined Strictly in 2012, replacing Alesha Dixon, who had left to join Britain's Got Talent.

She had previously appeared as a guest judge on the programme.

For most of her years on the show, Dame Darcey shared the judging panel with Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dame Darcey in the Royal Ballet Production of Mr Worldly Wise in 1995

Head judge Goodman retired from the show in 2016, however, and was replaced by Ballas the following year.

Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, said: "It has been an absolute honour to have Darcey, a national treasure and British dance icon, bring her passion for dance and her graceful presence to the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel for seven consecutive years.

"She will be thoroughly missed by us all and will of course remain part of the Strictly family in the future."

Writing on Twitter, presenter Claudia Winkleman added: "We love you Darcey. You'll be so so missed."

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