Belfast Telegraph

Darcey Bussell: 'I wasn't asked for my opinion on new Strictly judge'

Darcey Bussell is thrilled about having another woman on the show but she wasn't asked for her opinion on the casting.

Darcey Bussell had no say in the casting of new Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas.

It was recently announced that Shirley would be joining the panel of the BBC talent show in place of Len Goodman. Other names that were reportedly being considered for the gig included the programme's professional dancers Anton du Beke and Brendan Cole, but bosses eventually decided on Shirley, reportedly to aid their diversity strategy of having more women in front of and behind the camera.

While Darcey, who was previously the panel's only female judge, is thrilled about having another woman on the show, she told the Daily Mirror that she wasn't asked for her opinion on the casting.

"I will be meeting Shirley maybe in a couple of weeks. I know she is based in America," she explained. "She will be a great addition to the panel - very much indeed - she’s a great champion and her son (Mark Ballas) is a great champion as well.

"So it’s all in the family - all good. Did I have a say in the choice of judge? No."

According to the publication, Darcey and Shirley are planning to have a bonding session before the new series of the show kicks off later this year (17).

And former ballerina Darcey insisted she feels "very lucky" to have renewed her own contract to continue as a judge on the show.

"I don’t know Shirley Ballas but I am very excited to meet her and I am very supportive that there is another lady on the panel," she smiled. "I don’t think there was anything wrong with the dynamic before but it would be very nice to have another lady alongside me and I feel very lucky.”

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