OUR SATUR­DAY NIGHT FAVOURITES Darcey’s Strictly back danc­ing Judge quit TV for stage re­turn with Lloyd Web­ber

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News -

CEN­TRE STAGE Darcey on Strictly BALLET GREAT Darcey per­forms in 1992

The 49-year-old ballet leg­end left the hit BBC show last week, cit­ing plans “to give more fo­cus to my many other com­mit­ments in dance”.

And the Sun­day

Mir­ror can re­veal that those com­mit­ments in­clude a col­lab­o­ra­tion with mu­si­cal mae­stro

An­drew, 71. The pair met at his horse rac­ing grounds, Water­ship Down Stud in New­bury, where the com­poser out­lined his plans.

A source said: “An­drew has had his eye on Darcey for a while and is hop­ing to use her in one of his new stage shows.

“An­drew and Darcey have been friends for years and re­cently he has been ask­ing her to look at per­haps work­ing with him on one of his new pro­duc­tions. Darcey is over the moon.”

The source added: “Darcey left Strictly as she missed be­ing on stage. She ab­so­lutely loved judg­ing the acts but she has been a prima bal­le­rina all her life. Strictly was great fun, but not a se­ri­ous part of her ca­reer.”

An­drew has com­posed 13 mu­si­cals, a song cy­cle, a set of vari­a­tions, two film scores and a Latin Re­quiem Mass. Sev­eral of his mu­si­cals have run for more than a decade, both in the West End and on Broad­way.

Dame Darcey be­came a prin­ci­pal dancer aged 20 at the Royal Ballet in 1989. Af­ter be­com­ing widely ac­claimed as one of the great­est British bal­leri­nas, she re­tired in 2007. Her big TV break came in 2012 when she re­placed Ale­sha Dixon on Strictly, hav­ing impressed as a guest judge in 2009 when she did the jive with pro dancer Ian Waite in the semi-fi­nal.

In a state­ment last week, Darcey said: “It has been a com­plete priv­i­lege for me to be part of Strictly, work­ing with such

SCENE-SETTER

TAR­GETED

CON­TENDERS a ta­lented team. I have en­joyed ev­ery minute of my time and will miss ev­ery­one, from my fel­low judges, the pre­sen­ters, the dancers, the mu­si­cians, the en­tire back stage team and es­pe­cially the view­ers of the show.

“I am not leav­ing be­cause of any up­sets at all, I am just step­ping away to give more fo­cus to my many other com­mit­ments in dance.

“I know I will miss be­ing part of this unique show. I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day.”

Fel­low judge Craig Revel Hor­wood, 54, rub­bished ru­mours that her de­ci­sion was prompted by a row over pay, fall­outs with other judges or is­sues with how the Strictly curse was tak­ing over the show.

He said: “She’s done seven years and she loves it and she has had a great time. It’s go­ing to be re­ally sad seeing her go, ob­vi­ously, be­cause I love sit­ting next to her and I don’t know who’s go­ing to take her place – no idea.”

Mean­while, TV chef Rose­mary Shrager is set to sign up for the next se­ries.

The Ladette to Lady star, 68, is no stranger to re­al­ity shows, ap­pear­ing in I’m A Celebrity in 2012.

A source close to her says she’s been boast­ing about be­ing ap­proached, but is also moan­ing that the pay is dis­mal.

Bosses are also keen to get a foot­baller on board and have their eyes on newly sin­gle Danny Mur­phy, 42.

The Match of the Day pun­dit and for­mer Eng­land star split from Hol­lyoaks ac­tress Joanna Tay­lor, mum of his two chil­dren, last year.

Sources say foot­baller-turned-Homes Un­der the Ham­mer pre­sen­ter Dion Dublin, 49, and foot­ball pun­dit Jer­maine Je­nas, 36, are also in the frame.

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