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Darcey Bussell says she’s ‘softened’ Strictly co-star Craig Revel Horwood

Dancer calls his comments to contestants "mean"

Darcey Bussell says she is “always cross and always shocked” by fellow Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood’s mean comments to contestants.

The former ballerina described the 53-year-old’s biting criticism as “heartbreaking”.

But Darcey, 49, believes that during her time on the BBC1 show, she has helped to soften Craig’s take-no-prisoners approach to the celebs and their professional dance partners.

Craig plays the panto villain on the show (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Craig Revel Horwood ‘slams Tess Daly’s dull questions on Strictly’

She told the Daily Star Sunday: “I am always cross with Craig for being mean. I am always shocked. I think, ‘How could you say it like that?’

“It is heartbreaking. The celebrities are fortunately all prepared for it. And it is always a lovely surprise when he is nice.”

Darcey finds his words “heartbreaking” (Credit: BBC)

The judge, who sits next to Craig on the panel, said she had tried to melt his icy words ever since she replaced former winner Alesha Dixon as a permanent Strictly Come Dancing judge in 2012.

Darcey said: “I think Craig has softened. I have done some work on him. I think I really have softened him and I am very proud of that.”

She describes him as a “big softie”, a label which Craig has actually lived up to several times lately.

Darcey shows Craig the mark he should have given Steps’ Faye Tozer (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Craig Revel Horwood says Aston Merrygold was “robbed” on last year’s Strictly

On Friday night’s It Takes Two spin-off, he told host Zoe Ball that Aston Merrygold was “robbed” of the Glitterball Trophy in last year’s series.

Craig admitted how much he was looking forward to seeing the JLS singer in the BBC ballroom again for next month’s Christmas special.

Aston joins Ann Widdecombe, Jake Wood, Caroline Flack, Anita Rani and Michael Vaughan to compete for the Silver Star trophy.

Craig and Darcey open last night’s show with fellow judges Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (Credit: BBC)

And earlier this month, Craig predicted that Stacey Dooley, who is partnered with Kevin Clifton, would triumph in the current series.

He told the Radio Times: “I can see her winning. She has a lot of the audience on her side, she’s very popular and so far she’s getting through this with flying colours.”

Strictly Come Dancing: The Results is on BBC1 at 7.20pm tonight.

Do you think Craig is too mean or a big softie? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!