12/04/2019 09:08 BST

Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood 'Shocked' Over Darcey Bussell’s Exit, Saying Other Judges Have ‘Sent Her Condolences As Though She’s Dead’

"She’s got a life to lead – she’s a Dame, she doesn’t need it."

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has given his verdict on Darcey Bussell’s “shock” exit from the show, making a cheeky jibe about the other judges in the process.

Stating that it’ll be “really sad seeing her go”, Craig told the Mirror: “Darcey is a prima ballerina – we were really honoured to have her. That’s really important. That we had someone of her calibre on the show.

“I’m shocked as well because she was one of my best mates, especially on the tour, we had such a fantastic time. I’m really going to miss her.”

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Darcey will be absent when the show returns 

Earlier this week, Darcey announced that she won’t be returning to the panel when Strictly returns later this year, telling fans of the show that she wants to focus on her other dance world commitments instead.

Shortly after the announcement, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli shared their sadness at Darcey’s exit online, but a public post from Craig was noticeably absent.

Explaining himself, Craig added: “I’ve sent her a private message – unlike everyone else who sends their condolences as though she’s dead! Which makes me laugh.

“She’s not died, she’s just left the show. She’s got a life to lead – she’s a Dame, she doesn’t need it.”

It’s expected that a replacement for Darcey will be announced in due course and fans have already been speculating over who could possibly replace her.

While there’s a chance bosses will replace her with an expert from the dance world, who isn’t necessarily a celebrity in the UK, plenty of people think one of the current pros has got what it takes to step up to the panel.

Darcey won’t be the only familiar face missing when Strictly returns this autumn, as Pasha Kovalev has also decided to leave the show behind.