10/04/2019 15:44 BST | Updated 10/04/2019 17:15 BST

Strictly Come Dancing: Darcey Bussell Steps Down From Judging Panel

“I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement."

Dame Darcey Bussell has quit her role as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, it has been announced.

The former professional ballet dancer has been on the judging panel for the last seven years.

READ MORE: 12 Early Runners And Riders Who Could Replace Darcey Bussell On Strictly 

BBC Pictures
Darcey Bussell

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.”

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

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.”

Presenter Claudia Winkleman was the first member of the Strictly family to send her best wishes to Darcey following the announcement.

“We love you Darcey. You’ll be so so missed,” she tweeted. 

Strictly professional Oti Mabuse also took to Twitter to thank Darcey for being so “elegant, funny and positive” during her time on the show.

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.”

A replacement to appear alongside head judge Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli is yet to be announced.

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