Strictly fans were taken by surprise earlier this month when popular judge Darcey Bussell announced that she was quitting the show after seven years. And it seems so were the producers! Anton du Beke has revealed that just about everyone was caught off guard when the announcement was made, telling the Mail Online: "I think they were caught a bit by surprise by Darcey, it wasn't like the end of the series when she said she was leaving. I haven't spoken to her about it, and it's caught everybody a bit on the hop, but they've got the whole summer to organise it, they'll go through a process which they have to do."
Lamenting Darcey's exit, he added: "She's wonderful on the show and I know when she joined it was a great coup and I think everybody was delighted about it, having someone of her gravitas just added to the show. It just added to the quality."
Darcey has stepped down after seven years
After 15 years as a pro dancer on Strictly, it's no surprise that Anton's name has been thrown into the mix. The ballroom legend said he would be "delighted" to stay in his current role, or change and sit on the judging panel. Either way, any hopeful will have to go through a rigorous selection process. Anton explained how the judges are picked, recalling how head judge Shirley Ballas underwent a screening process. "They got a bunch of people on camera and they came out choosing Shirley so I imagine they'll go through the same process," he revealed.
Behind the scenes with Darcey Bussell:
Darcey made her shock announcement in April, releasing a statement that 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."
The former ballerina also denied that she'd had any sort of fall out with her fellow Strictly judges, Shirley, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood. She said: "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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