Dame Darcey Bussell leaves Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing judges (C) BBC

Strictly Come Dancing judges (C) BBC - Credit: PA

It's the seven-year itch for Dame Darcey Bussell as she announces that she will be stepping down as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

Dame Darcey Bussell who has stepped down as a judge from Strictly Come Dancing (C) Ian West/PA Wire

Dame Darcey Bussell who has stepped down as a judge from Strictly Come Dancing (C) Ian West/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Dame Darcey Bussell will be leaving hit BBC1 show Strictly Come Dancing after seven series in order to focus on her other dance commitments.

The former ballerina, 49, who joined the judging line-up in 2012 following the departure of Alesha Dixon, said she hoped that despite bowing out, she hoped she would be a guest in future series.

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.

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'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.'

Dame Darcey was a guest judge on the programme in 2009 and it is not yet known who will replace her alongside judges Shirley Ballas, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

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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.'

Suzy Lamb, MD, entertainment and 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.'

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