The BBC’s newly published annual salary report has revealed that seven BBC presenters earning at least £500,000 ($651,000) per year are all men, with presenters Chris Evans and Gary Lineker among the corporation’s highest earners. In what marked the first time the company has disclosed amounts paid to staff and talent earning more than £150,000 ($195,000), controversy swirled around the fact that two-thirds of the BBC’s highest salaries were dished out to men.
Former Top Gear presenter and Radio Two DJ Chris Evans came out the highest paid member of staff, earning between £2.2 million ($2.86 million) and £2.25 million ($2.9 million) per year. That’s more than four times the channel’s highest-earning woman Claudia Winkleman, who presents popular Saturday night dance show Strictly Come Dancing. Her salary was revealed to be anywhere between £450,000 ($586,444) and £499,000 ($650,000), making her the eighth-highest paid BBC star. Winkleman’s co-host Tess Daly sat in between the £350,000 ($456,000) to £399,000 ($519,000) pay bracket.
Gary Lineker, ex-soccer player and presenter of soccer show Match Of The Day, was the top earner in the sports section, earning anywhere between £1.75 million ($2.28 million) and £1.79 million ($2.3 million).
Other stars earning more than £500,000 include: chat show host Graham Norton ($1.1 million-$1.17 million); radio presenter Jeremy Vine ($1.1 million – $1.17 million); Today host John Humphrys ($1.1 million – $1.17 million); BBC News anchor Nuw Edwards ($716,888 – $780,000); and long-time Radio Two presenter Steve Wright ($651,697 – $716,866).
Behind Winkleman, the second-highest paid female star was One Show presenter Alex Jones, who earned between £400,000 ($521,432) and £449,999 ($586,609), less than her co-presenter Matt Baker, who earned between £450,000 ($586,610) and £499,999 ($651,805) for the same job.
Unsurprisingly, the BBC has come under fire of the lack of gender parity amongst its highest paid stars. Director-general Tony Hall admitted that there was “more to do” in this space.
“We have set the most stretching targets in the industry for on-air diversity and we’ve made progress, but we recognize that there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster,” he said.
“At the moment, of the talent earning over £150,000, two thirds are men and one third are women. We’ve set a clear target for 2020: we want all our lead and presenting roles to be equally divided between men and women. And it’s already having an impact.
“If you look at those on the list who we have hired or promoted in the last three years, 60% are women and nearly a fifth come from a BAME background. Meeting our goal on this is going to have a profound impact not just in the BBC, but the whole media industry. It’s going to change the market for talent in this country.”