Strictly’s Shirley Ballas was hand-delivered a picture of her own grave being dug

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Shirley Ballas during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. Picture date: Thursday October 8, 2020. See PA story. Photo credit should read: PA Media on behalf of So TV
Shirley Ballas has detailed a terrifying death threat she received. (PA Media on behalf of So TV)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has revealed she was given a picture of herself digging her own grave.

The 60-year-old dance teacher detailed the terrifying hate mail which was hand-delivered to the theatre where she was starring in a pantomime, calling her an “old witch”.

Ballas wrote in her memoir Behind The Sequins: “Recently, a death threat was delivered by hand to where I was appearing in pantomime.

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“This one showed a figure of me digging my own grave, with the message, ‘Do you realise how much you are hated?’”

Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli attend the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet at Television Centre on August 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Strictly judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli in 2019. (WireImage)

She revealed the accompanying note read: "The country hates you. How did they ever give a job to someone like you.”

Ballas said: “What these people don’t realise is I come from a tough housing estate, and I’ve spent many years being ­bullied in my industry.

“I’ve developed an exterior shell as hard as a hob-nailed boot.”

Former dance champion Ballas joined the judging panel of BBC show Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, replacing Len Goodman when he stepped down as head judge.

Watch: Shirley Ballas visits A&E after breaking ankle

In July this year she revealed she had broken her right ankle.

But she will be well enough to take part in this year’s Strictly which launches on BBC One on Saturday 17 October, with the live shows starting a week later.

Read more: Shirley Ballas reassures fans she'll 'be fine' for 'Strictly' after breaking ankle

It was recently revealed that Ballas wrote in her new memoir about a row she had with fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood.

In 2018 it was reported that Revel Horwood had jokingly claimed Ballas’s breasts were “hanging out” of her outfit at her audition for the show, but that he had later apologised.

Ballas said: “It was awful and very, very painful. It brought up a lot of things from my past that I thought I'd dealt with.”

The dancer said she was sent back to her “toughest days” where she said her ex-husband Corky Ballas made negative comments about her appearance.

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