Strictly Come Dancing’s Darcey Bussell STEPS DOWN as judge

Strictly Come Dancing’s Darcey Bussell STEPS DOWN as judge

Strictly Come Dancing's Darcey Bussell has stepped down as judge on the BBC show after seven years, yet insisted there is no bad blood with producers

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Strictly Come Dancing‘s Darcey Bussell has stepped down as judge on the BBC show after seven years, yet insisted there is no bad blood with producers.

The 49-year-old ballerina officially announced the news on Wednesday as she explained she is ready to make a change after years a judge.  

She said: ‘It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly, working with such a talented team…

Gone: Strictly Come Dancing 's Darcey Bussell has stepped down as judge on the BBC show after seven years, yet insisted there is no bad blood with producers

Gone: Strictly Come Dancing 's Darcey Bussell has stepped down as judge on the BBC show after seven years, yet insisted there is no bad blood with producers

Gone: Strictly Come Dancing ‘s Darcey Bussell has stepped down as judge on the BBC show after seven years, yet insisted there is no bad blood with producers

‘I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dancers, the musicians, the entire back stage 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.

‘I know I will miss being part of this unique show and the fact that it celebrates dance is something I am so passionate about. I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day’.

The guys! Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (left-right) complete the current judging panel alongside

The guys! Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (left-right) complete the current judging panel alongside

The guys! Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (left-right) complete the current judging panel alongside

Throwing support behind her decision, Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, added: ‘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.’

Suzy Lamb, MD, Entertainment & Music, BBC Studios said: ‘We feel very fortunate to have had Darcey on the Strictly judging panel for seven glorious years…

‘Her exceptional knowledge of dance and generous spirit have helped many a celebrity keep dancing. Darcey is much loved by the entire Strictly family and I know will be missed in both the ballroom and in sitting rooms across the country.’ 

Her time: Darcey became 'a national treasure and British dance icon' during her time in ballet

Her time: Darcey became 'a national treasure and British dance icon' during her time in ballet

Her time: Darcey became ‘a national treasure and British dance icon’ during her time in ballet

Twitter was swiftly flooded with reaction, with Strictly host Claudia Winkleman leading the tributes by sharing: ‘We love you Darcey. You’ll be so so missed. Xx’ 

Meanwhile, heartbroken viewers penned: ‘Devastated don’t leave us with Shirley!! #DarceyBussell… Dame Darcey Bussell leaving #Strictly is a move I never saw coming… 

‘I’m really gutted over this news and absolutely adored her as a judge, worried the judging panel may turn into a revolving door now… 

‘Sad to hear that Darcey Bussell is stepping away from #Strictly 🙁 She brought an air of elegance and class. Wishing her every success for her future, exciting projects.’

Heartbroken: Strictly stars and fans of the show made their devastation well known on Twitter

Heartbroken: Strictly stars and fans of the show made their devastation well known on Twitter

Heartbroken: Strictly stars and fans of the show made their devastation well known on Twitter

A replacement has not yet been announced, but early odds from bookmakers have seen professional ballroom dancer, coach, teacher and adjudicator Karen Hardy as favourite to take over the role.

Karen currently has 2-1 odds. She won the show with cricketer Mark Ramprakash in 2006. 

Head judge Len Goodman left in 2017 after 12 years and caused ructions when he was replaced by dance legend Shirley Ballas, whose appointment was announced the following May.

A vision: Suzy Lamb, MD, Entertainment & Music, BBC Studios said: 'We feel very fortunate to have had Darcey on the Strictly judging panel for seven glorious years'

A vision: Suzy Lamb, MD, Entertainment & Music, BBC Studios said: 'We feel very fortunate to have had Darcey on the Strictly judging panel for seven glorious years'

A vision: Suzy Lamb, MD, Entertainment & Music, BBC Studios said: ‘We feel very fortunate to have had Darcey on the Strictly judging panel for seven glorious years’

Last year, it was claimed there was ‘simmering tension’ between Darcey and Shirley, yet the former shot down these claims.

Darcey told The Telegraph: ‘Of course I get on with Shirley. She’s hysterical, she’s got a great sense of humour, and I totally respect her amazing amount of knowledge. She’s great to be with.’

Following the suggestion that only women have to face such rumours, she pushed: ‘Funny that… I don’t know why that is. Maybe we ask for it? I’m not sure. If we were in two suits, I wonder if they would treat us differently.’

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