Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood has revealed he thinks Shirley Ballas should be paid less than the rest of her co-stars.
The ballroom superstar, 57, joined the judging panel last year – replacing former Head Judge Len Goodman after he retired from the show.
She was paid £180,000 for her first stint on Strictly, but that sum was quickly boosted when the BBC were caught up in rows over their gender pay gap.
It came to light that Len used to take £250,000 home for his role as Head Judge, and so, Shirley received an additional £70,000.
But, her new pay packet means she got paid the same as Bruno Tonioli and more than Darcey Bussell and Craig – who have all being doing the show for far longer than she has.
And now, Craig has revealed his belief that Shirley’s salary should instead reflect her TV experience, rather than the gender pay gap.
He said, “The point about this pay thing is, yes, I think women should be paid the same as men. That’s for sure. But what would you say to a woman coming in after you’ve been in the job for 15 years when they’ve done absolutely nothing to earn it? I don’t think that’s right,
“For instance Shirley Ballas in that way, you’d expect she would start on something lower because she’s never been on TV before, the show’s been going for 14 years.”
Defending legendary Len’s higher salary, Craig explained, “Len Goodman earned a major reputation and put the show on the map like we all did. We all created it from the beginning. And I don’t think it’s comparable. Sorry. It just isn’t.”
Shirley’s transition onto the show was far from smooth, with rumour that her alleged backstage rows with Brendan Cole are among the reasons he was booted off the show this year.
However, the star has proven popular with many viewers, for her direct and constructive criticism – and the level of dance expertise she brings to the show.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to screens this September.
FROM: Woman, our sister site. Written by Georgia Farquharson.