Oti Mabuse: Strictly judge role not one I ever really wanted

The professional dancer said she was focused on one day opening her own dance school.

Press Association
Last updated: 18 July 2019 - 6.20pm

Oti Mabuse has said she never wanted to replace Dame Darcey Bussell on the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel.

The 28-year-old professional dancer, who joined the show in 2015, was one of a bevy of names touted to take over from the ballerina and choreographer after she announced her departure in April.

However, she told PA the job was not one she had ever wanted and that she expected it to go to someone with “years of experience”.

Dame Darcey Bussell leaves Strictly Come Dancing
Dame Darcey Bussell (Ian West/PA)

She said: “It’s not a job or a title that I ever really wanted. The person who gets it has to have years of experience and know what they are doing.

“I’m quite new to the country, I’m quite new to everything and if the opportunities come quick they leave quicker.

“I really do want to have a long career – hopefully in the United Kingdom – and I just want to create as much as possible.”

Mabuse, who is captaining a team in Comic Relief’s upcoming All Star Netball match, said she instead aspired to have her own dance academy.

She added: “My goal is to have my own dance school but first people need to see what I can do and what I can create. Then I can branch out into the musical theatre, into the other TV stuff.

Team captains Jennifer Saunders and Oti Mabuse (Rebecca Naen/Comic Relief/PA)

“But for now I really like dancing. And people have told me: ‘I’d rather see your feet!’”

Asked whether she backed Strictly veteran Anton du Beke to replace Dame Darcey, she replied: “I have nothing to do with production. It’s not something I have ever been a part of.

“I think it’s solely and purely up to the production. It’s nothing to do with me. I love every single one of us for who we are but with the judging I have no idea.”

The dancer will go head to head with actress Jennifer Saunders, 61, on the netball court in aid of Sport Relief, with the pair captaining star-studded teams the weekend of the Vitality Netball World Cup final.

Former Love Island contestant Montana Brown, Capital FM Breakfast presenter Vick Hope and Olympian Denise Lewis are amongst the stars taking part, while Clare Balding will present.

Mabuse said she had “jumped on” the opportunity to be a captain and praised Comic Relief for “empowering women and inspiring them”.

Montana Brown, Kath Merry, Vick Hope, Katherine Grainger, Adele Roberts and Oti Mabuse will all compete (Rebecca Naen/Comic Relief/PA)

“They do such good and they donate to different charities and organisations around the world and in the UK,” she said.

“I thought that it was a great idea that through playing netball and people watching, I would be able to help.

“The whole aspect of being able to do something – to work hard and get people involved – that’s the reason I do charity work for Comic Relief.”

Watch All Star Netball for Sport Relief on BBC Two on July 20 at 7pm.

To donate go to www.sportrelief.com

BT TV customers - Watch now on the BT Player

What to watch next...

More from BT