Strictly Come Dancing's head judge Shirley Ballas has been offered a huge £70,000 pay rise, to match that of the man she replaced - Len Goodman.
The former professional dancer joined the popular BBC One show just last year, but she’s already made a big impact.
It’s reported that for her first year on the programme, she earned around £180,000. But in light of the BBC’s gender pay gap scandal, her wage has been raised to match Len’s former salary – which was around £250,000. Len starred on the show for 12 years.
A Strictly source told The Mirror, “Shirley was thrilled her salary was brought up to what Len Goodman was paid in the role of head judge.
“She couldn’t see why she should get less than the person she replaced – especially after more than proving herself in her first year. It’s a great victory for equal pay.”
Shirley, of course, does the same job Len did. As Head Judge, her view provides the final say when it comes to vote-offs in a tie situation. And it’s likely that she’s the one the celebrity contestants all want to impress.
When Shirley first joined Strictly, her £180,000 salary matched that of Darcey Bussell’s and Craig Revel Horwood’s. It’s thought that Bruno Tonioli, however, earns £250,000 – a figure that matches his earnings on US show Dancing with the Stars.
It’s recently been suggested that all four of the judges will be returning to Strictly for 2018’s series. However, Shirley, Bruno, Darcey and Craig are all yet to confirm their return to the show.
It’s now thought that with her recent pay rise, Shirley is keen to set the tone for gender pay equality at the corporation.
The popular series is set to return in September of this year. And while there’s been no confirmation of the new celebrity line-up, rumours of who might be joining have been rife.
Shirley herself has admitted that she’d love for singer Cheryl to join the show, while Nadiya Hussain has reportedly been a popular choice for producers.
Earlier this month, Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan also teased that he would be joining the show, stating that his rehearsals “had begun”.
This series will also be the first without beloved dancer Brendan Cole, who was axed earlier this year. It’s rumoured that Curtis Pritchard, brother of Strictly star AJ Pritchard, will be his replacement.