×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BBC Boss Responds to Female Stars Over Pay: ‘We Need to Do More’

The director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, has responded to a letter from the public broadcaster’s female stars over its gender pay gap, acknowledging that the organization must do more to fix the problem and adding that the salary figures for next year will “look very different.”

Last week, the BBC was forced to publish the earnings and names of the stars whom it pays more than £150,000 ($195,600), revealing a startling pay gap between men and women.

Two thirds of the top earners were men, prompting a group of the BBC’s female stars to sign an open letter to Hall in which they wrote: “You have said that you will ‘sort’ the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.”

Hall responded with his own letter, saying that fixing the problem has been a “personal priority” and repeating his aim of closing the gap and having a 50-50 split of on-air presenting roles by 2020. “If we can get there earlier then we will,” Hall said in his reply.

He added: “Work is already well underway across the organization to help achieve this. There will be wider consultation meetings over the next two months so we can accelerate further change in the autumn.”

The BBC chief told female stars that he values their contribution and thinking, without directly responding to their offer to meet in person.

He pointed to the BBC’s recent record on equality. “When I came back to the BBC, I said that we needed to move from having only 14% of women on local radio breakfast shows to 50%. We achieved that in two years. I also said we needed to have a 50-50 split on all presenting and lead roles by 2020. You only have to look at our drama and entertainment programs to see what can be achieved.

“But we need to do more to close the gender pay gap.  Across the BBC, our provisional figures show that the pay gap is 10% against a national average of over 18%.  I have committed the BBC to closing the gap by 2020 and if we can get there earlier then we will.”

Hall said he is confident that next year’s figures will look very different, although like-for-like comparisons will be made difficult because several of the shows the BBC stars work on will start to be made by new production arm BBC Studios, which will not have to publish talent pay.

More than 40 female BBC stars signed the open letter to Hall, including Alex Jones, Clare Balding, and Kirsty Wark. They wrote: “This is an opportunity for those of us with strong and loud voices to use them on behalf of all, and for an organization that had to be pushed into transparency to do the right thing.

“We would be willing to meet you to discuss ways in which you can correct this disparity so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination.”

More TV

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • Desus Nice The Kid Mero

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Feb. 18, 2019: Academy Awards, 'Desus & Mero'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, the Academy Awards air and Desus & Mero make their debut on Showtime. [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    BBC Takes Stake in New Company Set Up by ‘Luther,’ ‘Bodyguard’ Exec

    BBC Studios has taken a minority stake in Firebird Pictures, the new drama indie being set up by BBC execs Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth. Kilgarriff’s credits include “Luther,” “Poldark,” “McMafia” and upcoming Richard Gere-starrer “MotherFatherSon.” She commissioned breakout drama hit “Bodyguard.” Holleworth will be the new company’s COO, having run business and operations for [...]

  • Punisher Jessica Jones

    Marvel's 'The Punisher,' 'Jessica Jones' Canceled at Netflix

    The last of Netflix’s Marvel shows are officially ending. “The Punisher” has been canceled after its second season, and the upcoming third season of “Jessica Jones” will be its last, Netflix confirmed on Monday. The announcement comes after Netflix gave the ax to its other Marvel series: “Daredevil,” “Iron First,” and “Luke Cage.” “Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ will [...]

  • SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake'

    SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake' With 'Desperate Parents' Producer

    SND, the commercial arm of the French TV network M6, has acquired worldwide distribution rights to “Family Shake,” a comedy series written by Baya Kasmi and Michel Leclerc. SND is the latest vertically integrated French film group to start handling live-action series, following TF1 Studio, Studiocanal and Gaumont, among others. Produced by Gaëlle Cholet at [...]

  • 'Super Shiro' Anime Series Inspired by

    'Super Shiro' Anime Series Inspired by 'Crayon Shin-chan'

    The enduringly popular Japanese cartoon franchise “Crayon Shin-chan” has inspired a new animated TV series, “Super Shiro.” “Crayon Shin-chan” has been on air since 1992 and inspired 26 feature films. “Super Shiro” is a fast-paced chase series, for kids, based on original IP by Yoshito Usui and scripted by on Kimiko Ueno.  The series is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content