Darcey Bussell quits Strictly Come Dancing after seven series

Strictly Come Dancing Darcey

Dame Darcey Bussell has revealed she is quitting Strictly Come Dancing.

The ballet dancer has made the surprise announcement that she will not be back on the panel for this year's series.

Darcey first joined the show in 2012, replacing Alesha Dixon who moved to Britain's Got Talent.

In a statement released today, Darcey said: "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 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."

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”.

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.”

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."

Darcey currently judges on Strictly alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and head judge Shirley Ballas.

The BBC has not yet confirmed if they will be returning, nor have they made any announcement about a potential replacement for Darcey.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 will launch in September on BBC One.

The Strictly professionals on 2019's line up were confirmed earlier this year. Pasha Kovalev won't be returning having decided to quit after 8 years.

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