Strictly bosses on alert over online abuse after Mike Bushell sent death threats

Strictly bosses are offering celebrities round-the-clock support to cope with death threats after Mike Bushell was sent death threats.

We can reveal they were forced to act after contestants became a target for internet trolls.

Mike Bushell, 53, was last week sent a chilling message after he was saved by the judges over Catherine Tyldesley, 36.

The BBC Breakfast presenter was warned he would be “a dead man” if he did not quit.

Mike told the Daily Star Sunday: “It was crazy. I had someone threatening to kill me.

“People expressing an opinion is fantastic. I’m all for that but don’t turn it into vile, personal, abusive stuff. That’s the problem with social media.

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“Strictly is an entertainment show. It’s meant to make people happy.”

Within hours of reporting the threat, Beeb staff had offered Mike counselling.

He added: “The BBC offered me support immediately. They are brilliant.

“They’re so supportive with anything like that. They’re very experienced at dealing with it.

“They said, ‘Do you want to talk about it? Are you worried about it?’ I said all was fine and I wanted to rise above it and carry on.”

Internet weirdos have also sent abusive messages to the show’s panel of judges.

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Shirley Ballas, 59, was targeted with death threats last month after voting off radio DJ Dev Griffin, 34.

And she has now revealed she is receiving taunts that are even more offensive.

She said: “Some of the messages that you can see on Twitter are quite disturbing. But the private messages I get in my inbox are even worse.

“I choose not to read the awful things people write.

“This shouldn’t be happening. Our decisions are controversial. We make the right decisions.”

Fellow judge Motsi Mabuse, 38, said fans should be able to accept what the panel says without resorting to insults and threats.

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She said: “Strictly has 10million viewers, so of course they aren’t all going to agree with our decisions. But everybody needs to realise what the show is about. This should be fun.”

Strictly bosses are doing “whatever it takes” to ensure stars get enough support.

Production staff have been made available to contestants 24 hours a day.

Craig Revel Horwood, 54, is calling for viewers to be more careful about messages they send.

He said: “Everyone is a judge now. Everyone has a Twitter account and everyone has a voice. But people should think about what they’re writing.”

Motsi added: “As far as I’m concerned, trolls are bored kids.

“Sometimes I feel like answering them and then I remember it’s a 12-year-old sitting in front of their computer.”

  • Daily Star Sunday
  • Strictly Come Dancing
  • BBC

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