Former Strictly Come Dancing star Nicole Cutler has lashed out at conditions behind the scenes on the hit BBC1 show, according to the papers.
Cutler – who was recently axed from the series – told the News Of The World that backstage the show is “nothing like it looks on TV” and the dancers’ wages “were so bad we could have got almost the same at McDonalds”.
“The amount we got paid compared to the hours we actually put in rehearsing and performing meant we were on the minimum wage,” Nicole told the paper.
“But as long as there are dancers desperate to be on Strictly Come Dancing we’ll never be able to negotiate fees.”
The 36-year-old added, “It seems hard to believe but with the hours we put in for last year’s show we were getting £6 an hour, which is only just above the minimum wage.
“For 25 weeks of the year the dancers have to give their entire life over to Strictly, we eat sleep and breathe it. We’re the only people involved in the show who work 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cutler also alleged that the dancers did not have a dressing room but had to change their costumes in the corridor outside the studio – and that the panel of judges ignored them once the cameras stopped rolling.
“The judges don’t talk to us and we have nothing to do with Tess or Bruce,” she said. “In the three years of working on the show I never once had a conversation with Tess that wasn’t on camera.”
Cutler – who partnered John Barnes on the 2007 series – was given the boot from the show after bosses told her they were unable to find a suitable celebrity for her.
She will be replaced by New Zealand-born dancer Hayley Holt in the new series, which begins on September 13.