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BBC denies cutting band from Strictly spin-off show after they requested payment

By | Published on Thursday 3 December 2020


The BBC has denied claims made by jazz band Amaraterra that they were dropped from ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ spin-off show ‘It Takes Two’ because they asked to be paid for their performance. The broadcaster says the decision was made purely for “editorial reasons”.

The band had been booked to provide musical accompaniment for dancers Nadiya Bychkova and Graziano Di Prima on the show. However, when they asked what the fee would be, they were told in an email – published by The Guardian – that there was not “money in the budget to pay for contributors”.

Instead, they were told that they would be given a free lunch and would receive a “decent amount of screen time, as well as a mention of your group name”, which would help to boost their social media followers.

The band’s Cassandre Balosso-Bardin replied by saying that they would perform if producers would agree to pay Musicians’ Union session work rates for their time on the show and rehearsals prior to recording. But, the band say, they did not hear anything back for several days from the programme’s producers, before receiving an email telling them that their performance had been cut from the show.

“The days of ‘it’ll give you exposure’ – something all musicians will be all too familiar with – are over”, adds Balosso-Bardin. “What exposure? For what? We won’t get any gigs these days and we won’t sell any albums as we have none to sell, not being able to afford its production. They want us and our expertise, but they won’t pay for it”.

A spokesperson for the BBC has denied all this, insisting that the band would have been paid and that their request for payment was not the reason they were dropped from the show.

“As we do with lots of artists, we discussed a proposed performance with Amaraterra for ‘It Takes Two’ that ultimately didn’t happen for editorial reasons”, they said. “Had they performed they would of course have been paid for their appearance”.