Strictly’s Shirley Ballas misses out on £100k payday after panto is axed

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STRICTLY’s Shirley Ballas has missed out on a £100,000 payday after the panto she was set to star in was axed.

Shirley nabbed a role playing The Fairy Godmother in Blackpool Winter Gardens’ staging of Cinderella and was so excited to take on the role at Christmas.

Back in April, she shared her excitement in a video on Twitter as she posed in a bikini, high heels and a baseball cap.

She said she had even been rehearsing during lockdown her lines after receiving the script to the production.

Shirley, 59, held the script to Cinderalla and told fans: “Just want to thank my friend and agent @AshleyVallance for all he does for me.

“For keeping me sane during lockdown and busy with some amazing projects,, you go beyond the call of duty.”

Shirley has now said she is “devastated” the production has been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic and she will not be on stage at Blackpool later this year.

Shirley told Daily Star: “I am devastated that I won’t be on stage in Blackpool this Christmas, but the safety of the audience, cast and crew is what’s most important.”

Shirley’s fee of more than £100,000 was set to make her one of the country’s highest-paid panto stars.

All is not lost as it’s hoped the panto will premiere in 2021 and be Blackpool’s first panto in over 60 years.

Producer Mark Goucher said: “Postponing to 2021 became the only choice, given the uncertainty that remains around live theatre in the UK, without the need for social distancing.”

She bags an estimated £250,000 per series as head judge.

Elsewhere, Strictly, which usually runs for 13 weeks, has been pushed back in BBC One’s autumn line-up due to coronavirus and is now scheduled to air from October 24.

It will waltz on to TV more than a month later than normal this year — and last just nine weeks.

And given the reduced number of shows, bosses plan on having fewer celebs.

The altered schedule also means two flagship shows — Halloween and Blackpool — will come much ­earlier in the run, at two and four weeks in.

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