Dancers 'cheated' by BBC- Mail on Sunday newspaper- exclusive story- *April 2010*

The winner of BBC's Dancing on Wheels contacted us after he felt he was unfairly treated on the programme.


James O'Shea was unhappy at how poorly the wheelchair contestants were paid.


We had the story placed in the Mail on Sunday newspaper and James donated the fee for the story to charity.


Read the full story below:

If you want help in selling your story call our confidential hotline on (local rates) 0845 60 90 118 or fill out the story form on the right.

For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Click here on Newspaper Stories and Magazine Stories to see some more examples of some of our work.

You can also view our TOP TEN STORIES section

Wheelchair dancer's fury as cameraman says: I'll throw you in the Thames

Mail on Sunday

The winner of the BBC's Dancing On Wheels show has accused the Corporation of discrimination, saying it refused to pay disabled contestants a decent amount, even though celebrity participants received generous fees.

The BBC3 offshoot from Strictly Come Dancing paired James O'Shea and five other wheelchair-bound dancers with stars including swimmer Mark Foster, singer Heather Small and rugby player Martin Offiah.

But Mr O'Shea, who won with TV presenter Caroline Flack, has complained about his 'derisory' pay.

Winner: O'Shea with Caroline Flack

Winner: O'Shea with Caroline Flack

He also claims a cameraman was highly abusive, threatening to 'gaffer tape your arms together, throw you into the Thames so only your nose is just above the water and then push you down every couple of minutes until you've learned your lesson'.

The outburst allegedly followed a private dispute in which Mr O'Shea claims the cameramen wanted to film a contestant who was upset.

Mr O'Shea, 32, says the BBC and programme makers Fever gave him just 150 a week, plus a small meal allowance and accommodation, during the 13 weeks of preparation and filming.

The care assistant and professional wheelchair dancer is angry at the discrepancy in the amount offered to the competitors compared with the celebrities' fees, thought to be thousands of pounds.

He said: 'When I won the competition, I asked the producers if they could look at anyone and tell them they're only worth 150 a week.

'I told them that I wanted at least double that amount for all the competitors.

'It makes no sense. They're trying to make a TV show to make a good portrayal of disabled people, yet they're not going to pay them. It is as if their view was, "They're not worth it so we can treat them like ****." It's clear discrimination.'

Mr O'Shea says he only took part in the show after he was promised 450 a week compensation for loss of earnings.

Strictly Come Dancing professionals Ola and James Jordan were judges, while big names Brian Fortuna and Kristina Rihanoff worked on the choreography.

The BBC justified the lack of more cash for competitors by claiming that the programme was a documentary rather than an entertainment show.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said that all six wheelchair competitors had received 150 per week plus expenses.

She added: 'This was a factual, observational documentary with an element of entertainment. For a programme like this we would not generally pay contributors, although we cover expenses.

'Celebrities are slightly different. They are paid fees because they help drive the audience.'

Mr O'Shea concedes that the cameraman said he had been joking when he made his threat to throw him in the river and later apologised.

He has also received a letter from Harry Lansdown, commissioning editor for BBC3 features, offering to hold talks with him .

In the letter, Mr Lansdown wrote that 'complaints of bullying and threats of physical torture by the production team' would be treated with 'the utmost gravity'. Last night, a BBC spokeswoman said: 'We strongly reject any suggestion that we treated the contestants in this show differently to those in any other factual entertainment programme.

'As is usual practice, we agreed in advance that all contributors would have their expenses paid and, on top of this, they were given a weekly contribution in recognition of the additional time the contestants committed to the series.'






Contact us today. . . to earn big money for your story!

Cash4YourStory's latest payouts: