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Strictly Come Dancing judge denies Darcey Bussell left because of pay dispute

Darcey confirmed that she was leaving the show ahead of the 2019 series

Emmy Griffiths

While it has been reported that one of the reasons that Darcey Bussell has bowed out of Strictly Come Dancing is because she wanted to a pay rise, Craig Revel Horwood has shut down the reports, calling them "absolute rubbish". Chatting to The Mirror about Darcey's decision to quit the show after seven years, Craig said: "She's got a life to lead – she's a Dame, she doesn't need [Strictly]. Darcey is a prima ballerina – we were really honoured to have her. That's really important, that we had someone of her calibre on the show." He added that she always had a "great time" on the show.

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Craig opened up about Darcey's exit

He then added that the BBC occasionally restricts projects, explaining: "You have to ask permission, she's had seven years of that and decided to do her own stuff. I think that's great." The 49-year-old confirmed that she was leaving the show in a statement on Monday which read: "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."

READ: Christine Lampard to replace Darcey Bussell on Strictly? See what she had to say!

She continued: "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." Head judge Shirley Ballas was among those to pay tribute to Darcey after she stepped down, writing: "Thank you for holding my hand all the way and being such an incredible friend. You were my rock when I was new to the show and have always been so kind. I for one will dearly miss my parnter in crime and our girly chats. It won't be the same without you."

READ: Former Strictly contestant Seann Walsh jokes that he is replacing Darcey Bussell