Ballet dancer Darcey Bussell is to replace Alesha Dixon on the judging panel of Strictly Come Dancing, RadioTimes.com can confirm.
A former principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, Bussell, 42, was a guest judge on the show for the final three weeks of the 2009 series, where she won praise from fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood, who reportedly campaigned for her to join permanently.
She also impressed viewers and judges alike when she performed a jive on the show, scoring a perfect 40 and a standing ovation.
Bussell’s appointment follows the defection of former judge and Strictly winner Alesha Dixon to ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.
In a 2009 interview in Radio Times, Bussell described her firm but fair judging style:
”I am very English, so I will be nice and diplomatic. That’s the way I am… [but] I will not be shy about criticising them and saying: ‘That didn’t work. It hasn’t improved. You need to do a lot more work before you come back next week.”’
Asked about the Strictly age row, which saw Dixon replace 66-year-old Arlene Phillips, Bussell said: ”Age has nothing to do with judging – you’re not performing.”
Strictly Come Dancing is due to return to BBC1 in September.
Read more about Darcey Bussell’s life and career in our biography of the new Strictly judge.