Oti Mabuse has said she would miss being part of the group of Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers too much to replace Dame Darcey Bussell on the judging panel.
The former ballerina announced last week that she would be leaving the BBC One series after a seven-year stint as a judge and would focus on “other dance commitments”.
She added that her departure was not due to “any upset or disagreement”.
Mabuse is among the contenders tipped to replace Dame Darcey on the panel following her stint on the BBC show The Greatest Dancer but she told the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2: “I think the Strictly audience is just like ‘No we are not ready to let her go’, at least I hope they are!
“I love dancing, I love coming to the rehearsals, I love being part of the group, I think it’s a really special group to be a part of.
“There are no dancers like Strictly dancers and how close we are and I think I would absolutely miss that and that part of it, so I’ll be dancing, honey, I’ll be dancing.”
Ball, who hosts the Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two, admitted she was “so shocked” when she heard the news about Dame Darcey and Mabuse added: “I was not even in the country, I was with my parents in Germany and we just got this email.
“It’s really sad because we really love her and she’s been such an important part of the show and she will be missed.”