Darcey is stepping down as a judge on the popular entertainment series.
“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,” Darcey via the BBC press office
“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. 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”.
The former ballerina first appeared on Strictly Come Dancing as a guest judge in 2009, before taking a permanent place on the judging panel in 2012 after Alesha Dixon defected to ITV for Britain’s Got Talent.
Bussell trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the company in 1988. Professionally she started out with the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, but having impressed choreographer Kenneth MacMillan during her school years, he decided to cast her in the lead role of Princess Rose in a new production of The Prince of the Pagodas to Benjamin Britten’s music, which led to her transfer to the Royal Ballet and being promoted to principal dancer at the age of 20.
Bussell remained with the company for the rest of her career, announcing her semi-retirement in 2006 and later her full retirement in 2007. She capped off her widely-acclaimed career in June 2007 with a performance of MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, broadcast live on BBC2. In 2012, she performed at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, leading a troupe of 200 dancers in a performance known as Spirit of the Flame.
Other work includes Viva la Diva, an operatic ballet show with Katherine Jenkins; dance fitness brand DDMIX; and books including Darcey Bussell: A Life in Pictures, the Magic Ballerina children’s series and her autobiography, Life in Dance. She was made a dame in the 2018 New Year Honours list having previously been an OBE and a CBE.
“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.” – Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content
Strictly Come Dancing is produced in-house at the beeb and will be back on BBC One screens this September. The series previously saw a change to the judging line up in 2017 with Shirley Ballas replacing Len Goodman as head judge.
“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.” – Suzy Lamb, MD, Entertainment & Music, BBC Studios