Strictly Come Dancing has faced another crisis as stars Sharon Osbourne and Richard Madeley apparently walked out over fee cuts.
The walkouts came after BBC1 boss Jay Hunt insisted on a 30 per cent reduction in costs this year, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.
Some of Strictly’s professional dancers have also revolted against the huge pay cuts to their £35,000 series fee by refusing to sign contracts.
Hunt’s heavy-handed style has attracted much criticism since rejoining 18 months ago.
Her decision to replace Arlene Phillips with Alesha Dixon on the Strictly judging panel has already caused public outcry and upset BBC stars and executives.
One senior boss said: “Jay has no idea how to finesse a situation, especially with talent, and there’s a lot of disquiet.”
Meanwhile, a friend of former X Factor judge Sharon revealed that the star was already concerned at Arlene’s treatment but that the ‘paltry offer’ she was made confirmed her decision to leave.
“Sharon is a serious player in America’s Got Talent but what the BBC finally offered was ridiculous,” said her friend. “And what happened to Arlene was a disgrace.”
However, a BBC spokesperson denied the Daily Mirror’s story but went on to confirm that it had met with Sharon and Richard.