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Darcey Bussell says she quit Strictly after bosses issued unreasonable demand

Mirror 29/11/2022 Lucy Domachowski

Dame Darcey Bussell has finally revealed the reason she quit Strictly Come Dancing after her exit was shrouded in secrecy.

She stunned the nation when she quit as a judge in 2019 after seven years on the panel and has remained tight-lipped about the circumstances that led to her departure ever since.

But now the 53-year-old has lifted the lid on her parting, claiming show bosses hired her for her dance knowledge but then asked her to change her persona.

“It was really hard because the producers on the show didn’t want me to be the ballet dancer and I was like: ‘Well, sadly I am, and I think you chose me because I am the ballet dancer’,” she told the Royal Academy of Dance podcast.

Darcey Bussell has lifted the lid on her parting © BBC/Guy Levy Darcey Bussell has lifted the lid on her parting

“They were convinced that the public were going to take that on board. But the public did take it on board and [nevertheless] were happy to have me as a judge.”

She continued: 2I was always going to play myself, however much I was convinced that to look like and be like the ballet dancer wasn’t the right thing.

“I was, like, ‘Well, sorry, you’re taking me as it is. This is how I look and this is how I’ll act’.”

The former principal dancer at Covent Garden, who has two children with her husband, Australian businessman Angus Forbes, confessed she felt she wasn’t suited to being on Strictly.

“It wasn’t the easiest thing for me, because I wanted to still be the dancer on that dancefloor,” she said.

“Being a judge full-time was hard, knowing that it’s live and having the ability to be quick and responsive, because I like to think and take my time.”

At the time of her departure in April 2019, Dame 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 backstage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive.

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