Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas lands bumper pay rise to equal Len Goodman's £250k old salary

For her first series, Shirley, 57, was paid £180,000 by the BBC – £70,000 short of the amount given to her predecessor Len Goodman, 73, for the same role.

However, following the furore surrounding the gender pay gap at the Corporation, bosses have increased her pay packet to match Len's.

A source told the Daily 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.”

Bruno Tonioli, 62, also receives £250,000 for his services, in line with the amount he's paid to do Dancing With The Stars in the US, while Darcey Bussell, 48, and Craig Revel-Horwood, 53, each get £180,000.

The Sun confirmed earlier this month that the judging panel will remain the same for this year's series.

Merseysider Shirley, “The Queen of Latin”, replaced popular Len as head judge last year.

Doubts were raised over her return after she and pro dancer Brendan Cole, 31, had an on-air spat.

It came after she criticised his dance with newsreader Charlotte Hawkins, 42. Bosses axed outspoken Brendan after losing patience with his antics.

Insiders claimed many staff were “delighted” to see the back of him after he became increasingly difficult to work with.

A source said: “Shirley and the BBC wanted to do another series so everyone’s chuffed they’ve come to an agreement. The whole panel is coming back.

"Viewers seemed to like the chemistry between them. It’s all verbally agreed. Formal contracts should be signed in the coming days.”

Shirley has just signed to Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE's InterTalent group — who represent stars such as Lorraine Kelly and Myleene Klass.

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