'EastEnders' bosses refused to pay for Cheryl Ferguson's leaving party.
Cast members at the BBC One show have accused channel chiefs of "pettiness" after the 48-year-old actress - whose alter-ego Heather Trott was killed off last week - was not given a free party because she was two months short of the five-year service period required for a complimentary bash.
One insider said: "Cheryl was weeks away from the five-year point and it just smacks of pettiness.
"People feel she was shoddily treated. She was well loved and upset at being killed off so many thought it was the last thing they could have done."
The 'EastEnders' stars clubbed together to pay for the leaving do themselves, but Cheryl admits she would "never" expect her party to be paid for by licence fee payers.
She said: "I would never expect the viewers to pay for me to have a big send-off and I think that in the current climate everyone would agree."
A show spokesman added to the Daily Mirror newspaper: "'EastEnders' and the cast would never expect this to be paid for by the licence fee."
Cheryl was grateful for the huge number of her fellow cast members and crew who came to say goodbye to her when she filmed her final scene as Heather, which saw troubled teenager Ben Mitchell - who is played by Joshua Pascoe - strike the cleaner over the head with a photo frame.
She explained: "I did my final scene and the studio filled with people. It was incredible, the number who came to say goodbye."