Darcey Bussell: Strictly bosses ‘caught by surprise’ with exit as Anton hints at ‘change’

Darcey Bussell seemingly shocked both Strictly Come Dancing fans and her colleagues alike when she left the BBC show after seven years earlier this month. The retired ballerina is said to have “caught everybody a bit on the hop” when she announced the news, saying she would not be returning for this year’s competition. The 49-year-old’s replacement is yet to be announced, with just Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli currently being on the panel. However, today Anton du Beke hinted that he could be the one take her seat, saying he’d “be delighted” to, while also confirming his professional partner Erin Boag hadn’t be asked, despite the rumours.

I don’t think they’re trying to avoid me or anything

Anton du Beke

The 52-year-old told the Mail Online: “It’s a process, I don’t think they’re trying to avoid me or anything, 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.”

The BBC pro continued: “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.”

The father-of-two them went on to suggest he could be in the pipeline, with him among the favourite according to bookmakers.

He commented: “I’m on the show anyway, so I’m either going to be dancing as normal or they might decide they want me to change roles. Whatever they want me to do I’d be delighted to do it.”

Turning his attentions to Darcey, Anton said he was “in shock” when he first found out, saying it was “sad”.

** Strictly Come Dancing 2019: Will Anton Du Beke replace Darcey Bussell as judge? **

“She’s wonderful on the show and I know when she joined it was a great coup,” he stated.

“The thing about Strictly Come Dancing, is you’ve got the best of the best, you’ve got Darcey Bussell as one of the judges and you couldn’t want for more really in the mix. It just added to the quality of the show.”

Meanwhile, Anton said it was “hilarious” when he spoke to Erin, who appeared on Strictly as a pro from 2004 to 2012, about whether she was going to replace Darcey.

He added: “She hasn’t been approached, I don’t think anybody’s been really approached, one or two people might’ve been but I suspect they’ll have to go through a screening process.”

According to bookies William Hill, Carlos Acosta is the most likely to take over on the Strictly panel.

“It looks a done deal, the odds suggest Carlos will be a judge later this year,” a spokesperson told Express.co.uk.

The Cuban ballet dancer, 45, who has been given odds of 4/6, has appeared in a number of films, including New York, I Love You.

Bonnie Langford is a close second on 8/1, then Karen Hardy, Helen Richey and Julianne Hough (all 10/1).

Alfonso Ribeiro is the only other in front of Anton, William Hill state, who is being offered at 12/1.

Strictly Come Dancing is expected to return to BBC One later this year.

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