Taking to Twitter, Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli, 53, pretended not to know about Darcey Bussell leaving the show. “So sorry for the silence,” he told his 193,000 followers. “I’ve been trying out having a complete switch off from social and mobile… I love it and highly recommend a detox now and again… What have I missed?” he joked, less than two hours after Darcey, 49, confirmed she would not be returning to the Strictly panel this coming series.
Joking aside, Bruno went on to tweet: “My darling @DarceyOfficial I will miss you so much your knowledge beauty talent charm and elegance makes you a true national treasure.
“I will treasures all the time we spent together on and off screen,”(sic) he added.
Bruno also replied to a fan voicing the question on everybody’s lips: who will be replacing Darcey?
Revealing he is not privy to any knowledge about who could be joining the panel, he simply said: “No idea…”
He then shared a clip of Darcey dancing the American Smooth on Strictly, saying: “Can we just take a moment and appreciate my dear friend and the incredible talent that is [Darcey].
“Found this amazing clip performing an American Smooth to Adele.”
Shirley Ballas, 58, replied to the post, calling Darcey “an amazing lady with brilliant talent”.
“I will miss her more than you will ever know,” she said.
The former prima ballerina previously issued a statement telling her 172,000 Twitter followers: “It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly for the past seven years, working with such a talented team.
“I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dances, the musicians, the entire back stage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive.
“I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement,” she insisted. “I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can’t imagine having gone any better.
“I know I will miss being part of this unique show and the fact that it celebrates dance is something I am so passionate about,” she added.
“I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day.”
Elsewhere, bookies have already revealed who’s favourite to take Darcey’s place on the judging panel.
Coral listed former Strictly professional Karen Hardy as hotly tipped for the job, with odds at 2/1.
“Hardy won the show with Mark Ramprakash back in 2006 and could well be the perfect fit to step back onto the show as a judge,” a spokesperson for the bookmaker told Express.co.uk.
Helen Richey, who previously judged on Australia’s Dancing With The Stars, is priced at 3-1, while ex-Strictly pro Ian Waite, 48, is at 6-1.
Strictly Come Dancing returns later this year on BBC One.