BBC Forced to Disclose Stars' Salaries, Revealing Huge Gender Gap

ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images
Tony Hall Director General of the BBC'We always try to pay people at a discount to the market
ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images Tony Hall Director General of the BBC'We always try to pay people at a discount to the market
Author

20 July, 2017

Of the 43,000 talent contracts with the BBC a year ago, less than a quarter of one per cent were paid more than £150,000.

The disclosure is not the whole picture. "People expect us to have great broadcasters, great presenters, great stars but pay them less than they would get in the market". So, for example, we don't know how much Benedict Cumberbatch makes for playing Sherlock Holmes.

The full list will be updated shortly.

Then Hall pivoted, touting the BBC's dedication to parity in representation as well as pay.

Woman's Hour presenter Jane Garvey blasted at "extraordinarily male and entirely pale and big salaries", Radio 2, whose presenter Jeremy Vine was shown by the list to be the fourth highest-paid BBC employee, on £700,000-£749,999.

Presenters Fiona Bruce and Tess Daly are the next female stars on the list, both earning over £350,000. Just one, Claudia Winkleman, who presents entertainment shows including Saturday night's "Strictly Come Dancing", made it into the top 10.

Former Top Gear host Chris Evans is the company's top earner, falling in the £2.2-2.49 million pay bracket.

There is also a lack of diversity.

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The BBC list doesn't include on-screen talent paid by outside production companies. Casualty actors Derek Thompson and Amanda Mealing are the highest paid actors at the BBC, earning between £350,000 and £399,999, and £250,000 and £299,999 respectively.

"On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service", he told the Guardian.

Overall, the BBC pointed to progress it has made to cut its talent bill.

Well, according to the latest judicial earnings figures published by the Ministry of Justice, our Lord Chief Justice (Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd) earns £252,079 a year. "Use of the word "talent" to describe just the top layer of workers is misleading in that every programme depends on a dedicated and talented staff, many of whom earn a fraction of that paid to the top stars".

The BBC signed off on around 43,000 talent contracts over the course of its financial year. Hall said, "Chris Evans is presenting the most popular show on the most popular network in Europe".

"It is still incredibly unclear how the BBC is going to avoid getting into some very hard legal positions with some of the people they employ". "Talented people in front of the camera or microphone are critical for our relationship with audiences".

A number of the top earners are newsreaders, and within the BBC questions are being asked about why the job merits such high pay. BBC Director General Tony Hall denied that the broadcaster was paying too much, citing the need to compete for the best people with the likes of ITV, Sky, Netflix and Amazon.

A new BBC pay report has revealed that radio and TV star Chris Evans earns nearly nine times as much as the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.


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