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Darcey Bussell joins Strictly!

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BBC Eurovision Nora | 09:50 UK time, Wednesday, 25 April 2012

We are pleased to confirm that Ballerina Darcey Bussell CBE, the former Principal Dancer at the Royal Ballet, is the new judge on Strictly when it returns in the autumn!

Darcey is no stranger to the show having appeared as a guest judge on the series in 2009 during which she and Ian Waite performed a jive together. Darcey will be joining the panel to sit alongside Head Judge Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli.

Darcey said: "I had such a lovely experience in 2009 when I was a guest judge, that coming on board now feels very natural. Strictly combines quality dance and great entertainment, which is such a positive for everybody involved. I am very excited and really looking forward to being part of the Strictly team."

Darcey Bussell

Welcoming her is Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC One: "Strictly Come Dancing is a real jewel in BBC One's crown and I can think of no-one better to join our Strictly judging panel than Darcey, the UK's queen of ballet. Darcey has all the poise and glamour along with the experience and credentials to deliver meaningful and insightful critiques of our couples' performances. She's a huge fan of the show and will be a fantastic addition to the Strictly family."


  • Comment number 1.

    Just heard the news that Darcey is to judge the next season of SCD. On the positive side, at least she has a professional dance background,( surely the minimum for a judge, one would've thought..).

    A shame Karen Hardy didn't make it though, IMHO. I would like to see someone with Latin and Ballroom knowledge on the panel.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm not denying Darcy has years of ballet dance experience and is very well known and respected. However I can not lie, I didn't really enjoy watching Darcy last year and secretly hoped the the gap in the judges panel would have been filled by the more knowledgeable in Latin and Ballroom, Karen Hardy.

  • Comment number 3.

    What are the BBC thinking Darcy I've never danced ballroom over Karen Hardy again a really terrible decision with no regards for the fans opinion. Doubt I'll be watching this year listening to her complain that their middle finger is a mm out of place rather than the dance content is too much to bear

  • Comment number 4.

    I should clarify my last comment... In addition to Len.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wish her the best of luck, although I'll miss Bruno and Alesha's chemistry. Wish Alesha didn't have to leave, I'll miss her. :(

  • Comment number 6.

    Very disappointed. Darcy didn't exactly sparkle on our screens when she was a guest judge - surely Karen Hardy would have been a much better choice - sparky, fun, extremely likeable, and very, very knowledgeable across a wide range of styles.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm very excited about this, I think it's great news, I love Darcy!

  • Comment number 8.

    Very dissapointed! I can't believe the BBC hasnt listened to the fans its been well known for ages we've all wanted Karen or Arlene back. Why do they keep making these silly choices! I respect Darcy and shes very talented but I found her dull when she made her guest appearences I'm just really surprised they have offered it to her over Karen Hardy. I mean, if Karen turned it down, they could have offered it to Camilla who im sure would have made a great judge too. Not sure if I really want to watch the next series now. Lets just hope they dont get rid of Anton, Brendan or Erin!

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree with Teri. I loved Darcy on the recent tv programme when she danced like Fred Astaire but she was awful on Strictly. Was Karen asked,she would have been brilliant. Think I will have to watch it on tape so I can miss the judging!!

  • Comment number 10.

    Teri Number 8 who is "we" I'm a SCD fan and I don't want either Arlene back or Karen Hardy, don't think you are talking for eveybody please.
    Not that I am over the moon about Darcey either. I wanted Alesha to stay but it was for me the perfect chance to bring somebody from outside the show. Former Pussycat Doll and dancer Kimberley Wyatt for me would have been a bold choice. A dancer, experience of being on a panel and in her 30's.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am over the moon, finally....a world class dancer on the judges panel. Darcey is my all time favourite dancer and I will definitely respect her opinions. Alesha made me cringe every time she opened her mouth and to be honest, that old lady, snorty laugh of hers drove me up the wall. Well done Strictly, best decison ever!

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes Lloydy, Darcy is a great dancer but not a great judge,perhaps you didn't see her attempts last time and I was really looking forward to that at the time!!

  • Comment number 13.

    my wife & i are not pleased with the choice of Darcey, shes a nice girl & all that, but it should hav been karan hardy,karan is a ballroon dancer and a very good one at that, & if we are not mistaken it is a ballroom dance show not a ballet show,
    but we are very much looking forward to the new series

  • Comment number 14.

    Darcey is a ballet dancer not ballroom!!!! All the threads and comments I've seen on this were for Karen to fill the slot! I too think she'd be amazing on the panel!! But yet again us viewers and our 'millions' of opinions on the subject don't count or matter. Karen hardy is the queen of the ballroom and that seat Is rightfully hers xxxxx

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm not sure I am looking forward to it now :0s I guess I'll reserve judgement once the other changes have been confirmed. Hope they aren't as bad! Agree with Lloydy though - Alesha '10 happy' Dixon made me cringe too!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Another shocked and disappointed fan here. Karen Hardy was absolutely the right person for this job, she is amazing on Take 2: knows her stuff, is interesting, funny, and does not pull her punches. What more were you looking for BBC? Alesha never really worked and Darcy won't either. She is not ballroom and she is well known for being one of the least interestiong, most talented people people on the planet... I will watch her dance forever, but listening to her is tedious beyond words. Really going off Strictly as you have made some barking mad decisions in the last couple of years.

  • Comment number 17.

    Karen Hardy's got the personality and the experience to be a judge on Strictly.
    I don't know if Darcy Bussell has either. Only time will tell.

  • Comment number 18.

    Have all those complaining that Karen Hardy has not been given the judge's position, thought to ask the lady herself if she wanted the role? Karen has many other projects that she works including another TV dance show.

    When she chose to leave SCD she must have had a her reasons.

    I personally wish Darcey luck and think that she will grow into the position of judge.

  • Comment number 19.

    Darcey Will be able to give them tips on strengthen of the core. This will especially help in Ballroom and not cause them to be so back weighted.
    Yes Karen is good but she doesn't have time for beginnners.

  • Comment number 20.

    I too am hoping Darcey will grow into her new role as judge. She must surely be feeling a little nervous, to say the least, given the huge interest that will emanate from her appointment.

    Who's to say whether Karen H was even considered for the job? Is she otherwise engaged on a Saturday night? I don't know, but she did make an appearance every week during the last series 'on the red button', didn't she?

  • Comment number 21.

    @18 @20

    Three people screen tested for the role... Darcy, Karen H and Karen Bruce. So I guess all three of them wanted the job. Darcy would have been my third choice.

    Lovely lady, very talented... just not my first choice. I hope she grows into the role.

  • Comment number 22.

    What is the BBC thinking of? Going for celebrity instead of knowledge? There are at least three more qualified ballroom ladies - Karen Hardy, Camilla Dallerup and Lilya Kopolova. Surely one of them would have been more suitable. The ballroom world provided us with Len Goodman, previously unknown to us mortals, but look what a star he has become! You're losing credibility with this choice, and I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the next series now. Sorry - I hope I'm proved wrong.

  • Comment number 23.

    Congratulations to Darcey Bussel on being the new judge but I have to say I have my reservations as to whether she is the right lady for the job. After all there were more qualified candidates for the job. A lot of people campaigned for Karen. Ola threw her hat in to the ring and Rachel Stevens (admittedly an outside bet) threw her name in to the hat and she would have been the ideal replacement if they were after a like for like replacement for Alesha.

    I accept that Darcey has had some experience as judge on SCD but as someone has already said she was rather disappointing when she appeared in series 7. Admittedly she came in for only the last few weeks of the series but because of that she didn't want to upset the apple cart and joined the other judges in showing favouritism toward the more talented couples Ali & Brian and Ricky W. & Natalie - over marking them whilst under marking the less talented Chris & Ola.

    If what I have read is correct Craig campaigned for Darcey to be given the role but given that she was only in the job for a few weeks this is a risky tactic because it could be that she is a completely different judge now from the one that appeared back then. I am willing to give her a fair crack of the whip but for the reasons stated above ( as well as the fact that ballet dancing is a different art compared with ballroom and Latin dancing) I don't feel Darcey is the right person for the job. As long as she is fair and judges correctly she has a chance of succeeding but she also has to be willing to be there for the long haul unlike Alesha.

  • Comment number 24.

    Yet another poor choice of judge from the BBC Strictly Team - Karen Hardy was the obvious choice to replace Alesha Dixon or even a return for Arlene but Karen has all the credentials required and more - cannot understand the choice of Darcey Bussel unless it was internally arranged!

  • Comment number 25.

    I agree with you Alan R that this isn't a great decision to say the least. However I think Arlene has ruled out returning and as someone else said we don't know if Karen even wanted the job although I do agree she would have been a great choice but this decision does at least ensure her presence on ITT for Choreography Corner.

    I think it was arranged because as I said on my previous post I read that Craig campaigned for Darcey to get the role of replacing Alesha so he must have had a big say in who the new judge was going to be

  • Comment number 26.

    Even though I don't think it is the right choice to dismiss Darcey Bussell as "just a ballet dancer" is a mistake. She has got to a exteremely high level in a field of dance higher then any pro who has competed on the show even Karen Hardy also many of the pros probably started with ballet themselves they will respect her. Just wish they had gone with a bold choice, a young 30's female dancer does not have to be an expect in ballroom and latin (Craig and Bruno are not that either) Kimberley Wyatt would have been for me been an exciting choice.

  • Comment number 27.

    The BBC is a little like a Government, you elect them (or in this case fund them) and then they decide to take no notice of public opinion. Karen Hardy was the obvious choice, Darcey lacks personallity and this will take Strictly back to years gone by. All we need now is for Craig to have his way over the removal of James and Ola and Stictly 2012 will be complete!

  • Comment number 28.

    Interesting. Reactions seem mixed. Need to see how she does in the role,for a while, I guess, before drawing any conclusions. I understand the Arlene voices, after all, Arlene was on strictly for a while. A little more surprised to see the calls for Karen Hardy. While I think they are a little too late to affect THIS transaction, I am sure Karen H. will find them very helpful with future negotiations ;)

    Not too worried about Darcy coming from ballet. All the styles tend to cross-over somewhat at the edges, egs. Natalie trying to teach her boxer a little ballet, or Holly Valance doing 'black swan' last season. If I remember correctly, Darcy attempted an exhibition Jive? when she guested in 2009. Don't think it quite came off as planned, but it was still obvious that she was a highly trained dancer.

    Advice for Darcy? Cram up on reading before it kicks off this year. Dance and dance-related subjects. Probably easier to become the dance expert people expect, rather than attempting to assert the dance expert she actually is.

    Anyway, good luck to her. All the best - and welcome to the strictly circus( on a more permanent basis).

  • Comment number 29.

    Nothing against Darcey but I would have preferred to see someone completely new in the role. After all, the entire judging team was unknown in series 1 and they soon became celebrities in their own right. I'm tired of seeing the token female judge being chosen for her looks and fashion sense rather than her knowledge of ballroom. If we must have Darcey then I would like to see Karen Hardy, or someone with a similar background, replace Len.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm a bit concerned about what Darcey's appointment will mean for the judges' marking. Alesha was all over the place and I can't see any scope for improvement here. If the judges' scores are fifty per cent of the total then the BBC should make every effort to make sure they are capable of judging fairly. I really hope that Darcey will not give in to pressure to overmark the 'Coco the Clown' acts. It was really sad last year when Rory Bremner got kicked out and Russell Grant stayed on.

  • Comment number 31.

    I share your concerns arroway about the marking with Darcey being added.She joined the other judges in over marking the talented couples back in series 7 whilst under marking the less talented Chris & Ola back in series 7 - the only one who didn't under mark them was actually Alesha.

    However I agree with lightbuffer that Darcey needs to be given a fair chance because despite our concerns we need to remember that she only came for a handful of shows at the end of a series and therefore didn't want to stand out from the other judges. So she might be a different judge this time from the one we saw which might please us more and conversely disappoint Craig who outspokenly campaigned for Darcey to get the role.

  • Comment number 32.

    Very disappointing choice. Karen Hardy would have been perfect!

  • Comment number 33.

    Give her a chance, she came in the middle of a series the last time. Well I am happy that Strictly got someone like Darcy, who have experience in the dance world. If strictly did pick Kaaren Hardy or one other of the pro dancer i would be still happy. like one of the judge said on ITT if they all came from the world of ballroom and Latin they would only need one judge. If and when Len Goodman decides to go then bring in a judge from the ballroom/Latin world.

  • Comment number 34.

    When I heard that a new judge had been announced my first thought was thank goodness hope It's Karen Hardy and what a disappointment that again they have decided on a non Ballroom expert. Even though Darcy has been on the panel before I didn't think she added much value last time lets hope she's better the 2nd time around.

  • Comment number 35.

    I cant believe that the wonderful Karen Hardy has been passed over in favour of Darcey Bussell. I didnt enjoy her guest appearence which was boring,and lacked fun and drive.The empty seat left buy alesha would have been better filled buy Karen or Camilla or even Jill Halfpenny.

  • Comment number 36.

    I wish the whole presenting and judging line-up could be changed. The judging panel in particular needs refreshing to match the inventive choreography and dancing of newer pros such as Artem, Aliona and Pasha. I wouldn't mind Darcey so much if she were surrounded by people like Ian Waite, Karen Hardy and Camilla Dallerup. Craig and Bruno were funny once but their formulaic panto dame antics are getting tiresome now while Len's insistence on old-fashioned rules just hamstrings the pros' choreography. If it's primarily an entertainment show, then let the dancing be more entertaining. As for the presenters - I am in despair! Please BBC, bring in some new blood!

  • Comment number 37.


    That's a great idea! Len's too grumpy; Bruno's too silly. The only judge I'd miss is Craig. As for the presenters... I wish Brucie would retire.

  • Comment number 38.

    I think that it's going to be great to have someone on Strictly with a different point of view. I think this will give the Celebs more to work on. However considering the fact that she has a Ballet background it will be different for he to look at footwork.But overall good note.

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree with you arroway when it comes to the presenters. Brucie isn't as good as he used to be. Maybe now there are new producers he will get better lines but I feel if Bruce goes Tess has to go also. I would replace them with former winners Darren Gough & Jill Halfpenny especially as Jill can cover the singing aspect that Bruce has in his favour.

    I have to disagree with your criticism of Len though. I am not a Len fan and I admit that over the last series or 2 he has been grumpier than usual. However as the only judge with a ballroom background - which after all is what SCD is all about - he has the right to insist on the couples sticking to the rules - such as no illegal lifts and a sufficient amount of dance content.

    Such rules haven't really affected the newer pros too much with the exception of defending champion Aliona who does like to employ lifts. Artem and Pasha have both produced a decent standard of choreography without incorporating illegal lifts or minimising dance content for story telling which bizarrely enough can't be said for some of the more experienced pros like Vincent.

    Also although Len has been the main one to pick up on a lack of dance content. During last years Halloween special Harry & Aliona did an excellent tango but it was more of a show dance and as a result despite the obvious passion in the routine the tango content was very little with practically nothing in hold and it was Craig who picked up on this before Len had even had a chance to comment.

    As I said I am not a Len fan but up until the last series or 2 he was viewed as the kindest judge on the panel even though this left him open to criticism for being too nice, seeing positives where there weren't and over marking a lot of the time. It just goes to show that whatever approach he chooses there will always be someone who doesn't like it. If what I have read is correct Len might well adopt a Craig style approach to the new series in order to freshen things up

  • Comment number 40.

    @39 You do a good impression of being a Len fan... even if you're not!

  • Comment number 41.

    Thanks Jo. It is all about being fair though. I gave Len a bit of stick about his grumpiness last series but if Len offers criticism and there is a valid reason for it he deserves to be defended and him ensuring the dances have sufficient content and no illegal lifts comes under that category

  • Comment number 42.

    @36, agree with you on the presenting side of things like bruice would want to retire on the Judging side of things I would miss Craig ( sometimes you have to agree with him), Bruno (for being Bruno) and Len ( i even miss Len last year when he was off for the week).

    @35 Jill Halfpenny was still only a celebrity on Strictly, I know that she was as good as a pro dancer and was a worthy winner.

    @39 Anyone reading your comment would think that you were a fan of Len.

  • Comment number 43.

    Not taking anything away from Darcey who is very talented in her field, and a nice person, but she does not have much personality for being on a television programme such as strictly, she was ok on the Vicar of Dibley doing her thing , but I can see Len, Craig and Bruno being on their best behaviour around her, so a fifth judge must be brought in KAREN HARDING how could the BBC get it so wrong. She has all the right qualities, and knows what she is talking about.

  • Comment number 44.

    Certainly would not have been my choice, Karen Hardy for me. Sorry Darcey but a family light entertainment programme needs to be, essentially, fun and froth, and neither were qualities you displayed as a temporary judge.
    I'll be happy if Len, Bruno and Craig (although he irritates me) return, and Brucie is a must. I hope Claudia will be back on ITT!

  • Comment number 45.

    I can understand that lostchachachamp (message 42) which is why I added that I wasn't a fan of Len so that my views backing Len could be seen as a neutral opinion rather than a biased opinion. As I said in my previous post it is all about being fair.

    I was among those who criticised Len over the last 2 series for his grumpiness but he deserves to be defended when it comes to enforcing the rules like no illegal lifts and making sure the balance between dance content and story telling isn't shifted too far the wrong way and I would like to think I defended him with facts also.

    I have defended him but I won't be afraid to criticise him if I feel he is off beam like he was when he said Harry & Alionas Argentine Tango (in the middle of the last series) lacked passion. Will I be criticising him more if as reports suggest Len is going to adopt a Craig style approach? Only time will tell

  • Comment number 46.

    I didn't notice your comment until a moment ago gorscot (message 44) or else I would have commented on it in my last post. Unless there has been a change of heart during the 4 or 5 months since the end of the last series I think you are going to be disappointed when it comes to Claudia returning to ITT. If I remember correctly she tweeted during the last series saying she was upset she wasn't going to be doing ITT anymore which suggests to me that ITT now belongs to Zoe.

    Claudia was a terrific host of ITT but strangely enough I don't feel it will be that big a loss but that is more a tribute to Zoe than a criticism of Claudia. Zoe has a history as a finalist and as a former contestant she knows exactly what all the couples are going through. She is still a fan and therefore her enthusiasm shines through and she did a brilliant job on ITT last year. The only thing I would say Claudia still has over Zoe is her choice of Friday panel to look at the couples training for the following day

  • Comment number 47.

    Ok not knocking Darcey Bussell completely. Fab ballerina. But BBC come on what are you thinking? Ballroom/ Latin have no common denominator. Question would you put the great eg Dennis Taylor commentaing on a hockey or basketball match. No. Therefore Darcey though a specialist in ballet I bet she does not know the 5 points of contact between a couple in ballroom dancing. Therefore does not qualify to be a judge on the show. BBC I challenge you to come see the World Open Championships at Blackpool in the next 4 weeks/ end of May. That's the real deal. SCD is poor TV. Bring back Come dancing becuase I've never been to a ballroom competition where the guest dancers dance with props in a competition for 2 minutes then dance 10 seconds with their partner, in this case their professional partner. You are making a joke of real ballroom dancing. I'm orry but lie my fellow competitors we spend alot of time training. Karen Hardy should have been chosen Then your rating would double as us dancers might then watch the show!!!

  • Comment number 48.

    Interesting comments there Dee 72. I agree with you to a certain extent about Darcey Bussell although having said that she has done part of a series before but I felt she was out of her depth and just wanted to fit in with the other judges. Maybe we will see the real Darcey Bussell when the new series starts.

    I agree with your comments about the balance between dance content, story telling and use of props to a certain extent. It certainly was off on a few occasions however I put that more down to the professionals who choreograph the routines rather than any fault from the producers. The balance certainly has to be addressed to avoid some of the dance calamities of last series.

    I do agree that Karen would have been a better choice but she might not have wanted the job. We need to give Darcey a chance though because despite her not fulfilling all the criteria she might actually make a good judge

  • Comment number 49.

    Have to say really disappointed in the producers of SCD making Darcey a judge. Just goes to show folks they do not listen to the fans, who love the show, at all. Darcey had her chance at judging and didn't do it for me, no personality at all, cannot fault her dancing, that is not the issue. Hands up all those in favour of Karen Hardy! These last few years SCD had lost a little of it's sparkle and I put that down to the producers, cutting corners, no decent stars singing, and most of all not listening to the fans who watch it every week!

  • Comment number 50.

    I think Strictly Come Dancing should keep Darcey, Bruno and Len, then add Derek Hough, age 26 (a professional ballroom dancer) and Katherine Jenkins, age 31 (a classical singer, who is doing well on Dancing with the Stars in the states and has a warm personality). I think this change would make the show more refreshing.

  • Comment number 51.

    @45 true for you when you say that it is all about being fair. I actually forgot about Len and Aliona & HArry's Arg. Tango. Strictly is about Ballroom dancing and Len knows what he is talking about when he comes from the ballroom background of things. it is like Craig, you would agree or disagree with him.

    @50 What about Craig? DWTS can keep Derek Hough, Bring back MAtthew Cutler, IAn Waite, Darren Bennett, Lilia Koplova and KArdy HArdy. Must say that KAtherine Jenkins' Waltz was beautiful (saw it on You Tube), if anyone is going to watch it have a tissue ready.

  • Comment number 52.

    wow thrilled that Alesha is not a judge anymore but to replace het with Darcy!!! BBC makes weird choices why not Karen or Arlene who know ballroom and latin dancing. Can not see what a ballet judge can say about a dance she can't do. Never thought i would say this but even Alesha had more experience with the dances!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    @52 Understand where you are coming from love to have Karen as a Judge but we have a judge that knows about ballroom and latin dancing which is Len. I said this in a comment before if and when Len decides to go then bring in the likes of Karen or another pro dancer.

  • Comment number 54.

    According to the Daily Mail, the BBC production team and current judges are looking to improve the standard of dancing by axeing Pasha and keeping Anton. Why am I not surprised?

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 54 As long as they keep our "rent a pro"(Brendan Cole) I am surprise that they would axe the likes of Natalie, Pasha,etc because in my eyes they would improve the standard of dancing.

    I wouldn't be that surprise if James and Ola Jordan axe this year. still I hope they won't be because James calmed( i don't know if calmed is the word I looking for)over the years and Ola we didn't get to know her really until Series 7 with Chris Hollins

  • Comment number 56.

    Dissapointed that Darcey's judge, Alesha had a lot more experiance of Strictly and I really like Darcey for her ballet dancing and I don't really see why she should become a judge on a ballroom/latin show!!!! I peronally think Kara Tointon would have made a very good replacement for Alesha. Though I can understand that it would be very difficult Kara giving her professional partner and boyfriend scores and comments!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    Interesting article arroway. If what you have read is correct I think getting rid of Anton is fair enough (sorry Anton fans) although it would have been nice to see Anton lift the trophy or at least make the final once. However Pasha can consider himself exceedingly unlucky if he has been axed. He is one of those to improve SCD and the fact he got someone with very low self confidence deservedly in to the final finishing as runner up says something about how good he is

  • Comment number 58.

    @57. Hi pasopeter. I don't seriously think they'll axe any of the more popular new pro dancers, but the selection of Darcey as a judge makes you realise the producers are capable of making questionable decisions. It seems that everyone from dancers to make-up have to be experts in their field, but not the people dishing out half the scores. At least Alesha's gone. That's a blessing.

  • Comment number 59.

    @58 !I don't seriously think they'll axe any of the more popular new pro dancers," hopefully they won't ,surely they learned from the last time they axed pro dancers because i for one am still mad that they axed Matthew Cutler, Darren Bennett ,Lilia Kopylova and Ian Waite. I still miss them especially MAtthew Cutler( he was something to look at )

    @57 I think getting rid of Anton is fair enough (sorry Anton fans) although it would have been nice to see Anton lift the trophy or at least make the final once. I agree with you there.
    However Pasha can consider himself exceedingly unlucky if he has been axed. He is one of those to improve SCD and the fact he got someone with very low self confidence deservedly in to the final finishing as runner up says something about how good he is. -Agreed. I would be very surprise that they would axe the likes of PAsha, and the new pro dancers.


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