Shirley Ballas reveals her shock at Darcey Bussell quitting Strictly Come Dancing

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Shirley Ballas says she has a "hole in her heart" after Darcey Bussell left Strictly Come Dancing.

Ballet dancer Darcey made the surprise announcement last month that she is leaving Strictly Come Dancing after seven years.

As well as shocking fans, Darcey's decision is also said to have caught those who work on the show off guard.

Darcey's former fellow Strictly judge Shirley Ballas this week expressed her sadness about the news.

"I have a hole in my heart from where Darcey is leaving," Shirley told The Sun newspaper at the TV BAFTAs. "We got to spend the Strictly tour together and we shared a changing room.

"She was just the most magnificent human being on planet earth that anybody could possibly wish to meet, amazing!"

Shirley revealed that the BBC were still looking for a replacement for Darcey.

She said: "I think again the BBC will pick someone who is qualified and fits in with the panel, because obviously there's four of us and we've all got to gel, everybody's got to have their compartments and know what they're doing."

Speaking about her decision to leave Strictly last month, Darcey said there was no "upset or disagreement" behind the decision, saying she planned to focus on "my many other commitments in dance".

Darcey explained: "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”.

Alongside head judge Shirley, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli currently make up the Strictly Come Dancing panel.

Strictly airs on BBC One.

The new series is expected to launch in September.

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