Darcey has enjoyed seven series on the BBC hit

Dame Darcey Bussell has quit Strictly Come Dancing after seven years, the BBC has announced today.

The 49-year-old star, who joined Strictly Come Dancing as a judge back in 2012, said she wasn’t leaving the BBC1 hit due to any “upset or disagreement at all”.

Dame Darcey Bussell with the Strictly Come Dancing team

End of an era! Dame Darcey Bussell is leaving behind her Strictly Come Dancing co-judges, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Shirley Ballas

Speaking about her decision to leave, 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.

“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.”

Darcey has become a firm fan favourite on the BBC1 show and speculation will quickly begin on who the BBC will bring in to replace her.

The hugely popular star, who is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest British ballet dancers, trained at the Royal Ballet School before starting her professional career at Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet.
The former Strictly judge became a principle dancer at the age of just 20 at the Royal Ballet, and she stayed there for more than two decades.
Darcey retired from ballet in 2007 and her career took a new direction as she not only wrote books but also starred in TV shows and on judging panels. Darcey has also modelled clothes for Mulberry, Marks and Spencer, and been photographed for Tatler, Vogue and Vanity Fair.