Shirley Ballas throws doubt over returning to Strictly

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Shirley Ballas unsure if she'll return to StrictlyGuy Levy - BBC

Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas has thrown doubt over returning as head judge for the next series.

Shirley has led the panel since 2017, but recently opened up about how the trolling online reached a peak during last year's series, telling The Mirror that she would get thousands of messages after an elimination – where she often had the deciding vote – and it's not something she wants to put herself through again.

"Last year I was struggling," she admitted. "It wasn’t just a little bit, it was a lot – the majority of it was in silence. I felt the abuse snowballed out of control and impacted me in such a negative way.

Related: Strictly star Stacey Dooley announces new project

"I’m a pretty stoic person, and I tend to hold everything in. When it all kicked off, it seemed like it was larger than anything else. I was crying, I was emotional, but I was embarrassed about being so emotional. I didn’t want to talk to anybody about it.

"And that was an all-time low since I joined the show – it was the most negativity I’d ever experienced. The BBC were brilliant, checking in on me and offering counselling and support."

She continued to explain that she thankfully felt better after taking a step back, but is now unsure of if she wants to be in such a negative situation again.

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Related: Strictly's Janette talks keeping pregnancy secret

"After the Strictly tour I decided to take a break from TV and re-focus on my own industry for a while, to protect my sanity," she added. "I’m fortunate I have two jobs, running parallel, so it was much easier to take a break from TV and look after myself and my well-being.

"Will I go back to Strictly? I always take one step at a time. I absolutely love the job. If it was just that, and there was nothing else surrounding it, I can’t think of a more rewarding job to do."

If Shirley doesn't return, both Karen Hauer and Aljaž Škorjanec have said that they'd be up for joining the panel as a judge.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One, while spin-off Strictly: It Takes Two airs on BBC Two. Both shows are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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