×

BBC Reveals Stars’ Salaries Amid Controversy Over Pay for Women

The BBC revealed the salaries of its top stars Wednesday, with presenters Chris Evans and Gary Lineker among the highest earners. The public broadcaster was forced by the British government to publish the names and numbers in its annual report, and as expected, the data showed that most of the big earners are men, fueling a debate on the gender gap at the BBC.

Evans (pictured), who has worked across radio and TV for the BBC, was the highest-earning star and the only one in the £2,220,000 to £2,249,999 bracket. (The figures are banded in £50,000 increments.) Evans placed above talk-show host Graham Norton, who earned between £850,000 and £899,999.

The top-earning woman at the BBC was presenter Claudia Winkleman, in the £450,000 to £499,999 bracket, significantly behind a number of male stars; Evans’ salary is at least four times that of Winkleman’s. Her “Strictly Come Dancing” co-host, Tess Daly, was in the £350,000 to £399,999 bracket.

The figures cover what talent was paid during the 2016-17 financial year out of the £3.8 billion that the BBC received in license fees. Not covered are those who work for independent producers that make such BBC shows as “Sherlock” or those working at BBC Worldwide, the broadcaster’s commercial arm.

Lineker, the former soccer player and presenter of “Match of the Day,” was by some distance the top earner in the sports category, making between £1,750,000 and £1,799,999. Wimbledon presenter Sue Barker was the top-earning woman in sports, earning between £300,000 and £349,999.

In entertainment, Alex Jones, presenter of “The One Show,” earned the most, pulling in between £400,000 and £449,999. The highest-earning actor was Derek Thompson in the £350,000 to £399,999 bracket, ahead of Amanda Mealing, who was paid between £250,000 and £299,999. Both star on long-running BBC medical drama “Casualty.”

In news and current affairs, Radio 4 journalist and presenter Eddie Mair topped the list as the only entrant in the £300,000 to £349,000 bracket. Political editor Laura Kuenssberg and presenters Victoria Derbyshire, Martha Kearney, and Mishal Husain were the top women earners in a well-populated £200,000 to £249,999 bracket.

Two-thirds of the stars earning more than £150,000 are men. The BBC Corporation has committed itself to giving equal airtime and pay for women by 2020, and to having 15% black, Asian and other ethnic-minority representation. BBC Director General Tony Hall said the broadcaster was doing more than any of its peers to address the gender imbalance.

Hall has also said that paying competitive salaries is imperative for the BBC to continue to attract top-flight talent.

“The BBC produces some of the nation’s most-loved television and radio and the most trusted news while operating in a competitive market with the likes of Sky, ITV, Netflix and Amazon,” he told reporters Wednesday. “It is widely acknowledged that on the whole the BBC pays less than its competitors while delivering high-quality and award winning content.”

Hall added that the amount spent on talent is coming down. “We have significantly reduced the total bill spent on paying talent, down again this year by 2.5%,” he said. “The bill for top talent is down 10% year on year, and down by a quarter over the last five years.”

The BBC had published the salaries of top talent before, but without names attached. This is the first time the broadcaster has named all those earning more than £150,000. The BBC had fought against disclosing the figures, arguing that it would have an inflationary effect – a sentiment echoed by some commercial rivals, including Sky – but the government of Prime Minister Theresa May insisted that the information be made public.

(Note: £1.00 = $1.30)

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content