Some of the BBC’s top-rated shows, including Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders, could be forced off the air by a strike, according to reports.

The Mirror says that angry workers at the corporation are preparing to strike over Director General Mark Thompson’s plans to axe 2,800 jobs to solve a £2 billion cash crisis.

“The mood has turned militant and the place is in uproar,” one executive told the paper.

Union bosses said strike action was almost inevitable and warned that major shows could be hit along with the BBC’s entire news output.

“Feelings are running very high. There’s a lot of anger,” said a spokeswoman for the broadcasting union Bectu.

Meanwhile, some of the BBC’s biggest stars have been told they face pay cuts at an emergency meeting in London.

Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton and Bruce Forsyth were among those who were told their salaries are likely to be slashed. Ross, who has a three year deal with the BBC, earns around £6m a year, while Norton receives around £2.5m a year.

The cuts may well lead to some stars abandoning the BBC for other TV networks. Natasha Kaplinsky recently announced she was leaving the BBC to join Five, while Breakfast presenter Dermot Murnaghan is moving to Sky News for a seven-figure salary, it has been confirmed.

A boss at one rival broadcaster suggested it might be good news for them. “There’ll be lots of top talent looking around for new homes. And this way we’ll get them more cheaply than we might have.”

Full details of the job cuts will be announced on Thursday.