ENTERTAINMENT
10/04/2019 18:12 BST | Updated 10/04/2019 18:14 BST

Strictly Come Dancing Judges Honour Darcey Bussell As They React To Her Exit

"It just won’t be the same without you!"

Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli have honoured their fellow Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell, following the news she has quit the show

The prima ballerina announced she was stepping down from the panel on Wednesday, after seven years on the BBC ballroom show. 

Reacting to her departure, Head Judge Shirley thanked Darcey for being her “rock” after joining the panel to replace Len Goodman in 2017, while Bruno hailed her as a “national treasure”. 

Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Darcey Bussell with Bruno Tonioli, Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood

Shirley wrote: “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. You were my rock when I was new to the show and have always been so kind. I for one will miss my partner in crime and our girly chats. 

“It just won’t be the same without you!” she added. 

Bruno wrote: “My darling @DarceyOfficial⁩ I will miss you so much your knowledge beauty talent charm and elegance makes you a true national treasure I will treasures all the time we spent together on and off screen [sic].”

Posting a Gif of a sulking child, he added: ”#mood @DarceyOfficial what are we going to do...” 

Bruno also shared a video of Darcey performing an American Smooth with Ian Waite on the show, calling her an “incredible talent”. 

Host Claudia Winkelman also tweeted: “We love you Darcey. You’ll be so so missed. Xx”

Some of the show’s professional dancers also paid tribute...

Speaking about her decision to quit the BBC One show, Darcey insisted she was leaving on good terms and not because of “any upset or disagreement”.

“It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly, working with such a talented team,” she said in a statement.

“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.”

She added: “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.”

Darcey is not the only Strictly regular not returning for the new series, as professional dancer Pasha Kovalev previously announced his exit

Darcey’s replacement is yet to be announced, but you can check out some early runners and riders here

Photo gallery Strictly Come Dancing's Former Pros: Where Are They Now? See Gallery