Dame Darcey Bussell has announced that she will not be returning to Strictly Come Dancing.
After seven memorable series on the show as a judge, she has decided to step down from her role in order to give more attention to her many other commitments.
In a statement, she 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.
“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 first made an appearance as a judge from the quarter final onwards in series seven (2009). However, she officially joined the Strictly family in 2012 for series 10, replacing Alesha Dixon.
In addition to Darcey, it was announced earlier this year that after eight years, professional dancer Pasha Kovalev will also not be returning to Strictly. Making his announcement, he said: “After scoring 93 perfect tens, reaching 4 finals and lifting 1 glitter ball, it’s time for me to find a new challenge”.
The pro line up for 2019 has already been confirmed, with AJ Pritchard, Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di prima, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones, Kevin Clifton, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychova, Neil Jones, and Oti Mabuse all returning.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One this Autumn.