The great BBC pay rift laid bare: Rows brew among Auntie’s stars as Chris Evans, Gary Lineker and Claudia Winkleman are named among the highest paid … but who is #notonthelist?
The BBC has today what its top earners are paid – but it has already sparked a revolt with upset staff learning for the first time what their colleagues earn.
The list is topped by Chris Evans who earned up to £2.49million last year followed by Gary Lineker on £1.8million with the top ten paid around £9million in salary between them – but Claudia Winkleman is the only woman among them on up to £499,000.
Female presenters are already in revolt with Radio 4’s Jane Garvey and Charlotte Smith using the hashtags #notonthelist and #GenderPayGap in a series of sarcastic tweets about their own pay.
Ms Smith, who presents Farming Today and Countryfile, said: ‘I’m happy to accept a pay rise to help the BBC out with its gender pay gap problem’.
There are also concerns that some stars are being paid huge sums but have been able to avoid revealing it in the BBC’s annual report published today.
Graham Norton, who is known to get at least £2.5million a year for his chat show, is only listed as earning up to £899,000 because he get paid most of his cash via a production company.
The salaries of other stars including Matt LeBlanc are also kept secret because they are paid by the corporation foreign TV arm BBC Worldwide.
Director General Tony Hall has urged his staff not to make comparisons but the list of people earning more than £150,000 has revealed stark differences on many hit shows.
The BBC’s top paid woman is Claudia Winkleman who earns up to £499,000 for her TV and radio work.
But a pay gap among Strictly has emerged with Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell earning up to £199,000 but Bruno Tonioli gets up to £249,000 along with Len Goodman.
In further contrast BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker gets up to £250,000 a year but co-hosts Sally Nugent and Louise Minchin don’t even earn enough to break £150,000 threshold.
BBC bosses could be hauled before Parliament over the issue of disperate pay deals and women being paid less,
Damian Collins, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said he will be raising the issue.
Speaking to Sky News he said: ‘This could be a really serious issue. If it becomes clear that people doing the same job with the same level of experience but being paid at very different levels, people will question why that can be the case.
‘There has been concern raised that we may see examples of this. This would certainly be a very serious matter.
‘This would certainly be something we would take up very strongly with the BBC when the director general and the chairman appear before the select committee in the autumn.’
But BBC insiders say that publishing the salary details is going to push up salaries or see talent leave for rivals.
Former BBC chairman Lord Grade told Today: ‘I can hear the phones ringing all over the UK today… Agents will be looking at the relative rates others are getting, clients are going be up in arms, the competition will be looking at it.
‘The net result of this is inflation. There’s only way this can go and that is that the talent salaries and wages will round upwards, they won’t go down. I guarantee you that.’
Earlier Mr Lineker said has his ‘tin hat on’ today as the BBC’s millionaire stars faced having their pay deals published in detail for the first time.
The Match of the Day star, 56, is among 96 presenters and journalists paid more than the Prime Minister by the corporation and wished Twitter followers a ‘happy BBC salary day’.
Mr Lineker said: ‘I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?’.
Gary Lineker also retweeted a message from Apprentice star Lord Sugar who praised the former footballer’s ‘loyalty’ to the BBC and suggested he was getting below the market rate when compared to stars at ITV and Channel 4.
The stars have been warned to expect public anger over the huge sums. There will also be allegations of sexism – only a third of the high earners are women – and a backlash from staff on lower salaries.
In a bid to limit the damage, BBC boss Lord Hall has sent a video message to all staff reminding them that their salaries are large sums to most licence fee payers.
‘We are dealing with the public’s money,’ he said. ‘This is not something we can take lightly.’
The BBC fought tooth and nail against a government order to publish the figures. It then tried to delay their release.
In a sign of further panic, stars have been told they can defend their pay on social media – breaking with normal BBC protocol. Bosses have warned every staffer on £150,000 or more that their details will be published and in some against the public reaction.
The corporation’s annual report is expected to reveal that:
- Gary Lineker and Chris Evans are among the biggest earners;
- The gender pay gap is even worse for older stars;
- Sports presenters are some of the highest paid;
- 306 senior managers earn more than £42million between them;
The meetings have fuelled jealousy among other presenters who are now demanding why they are not paid similar sums.
It is understood that today’s figures will show that the BBC’s overall bill for on screen and on air talent – not just those earning more than £150,000 – was £194million last year.
However, it will argue that the bill for top talent – those on £150,000 or more – has fallen by a tenth in a year, and a quarter over the five years
Lord Hall cautioned staff against making comparisons: ‘A word of warning; comparing people’s pay is not straightforward. Very few do precisely the same thing – people working at the same show may have other – or different – commitments.’
However, he apologised to staff for the startling difference in pay for men and women: ‘Of the talent earning over £150,000 – two thirds are men and one third are women. Is that where we want to be? No. Are we pushing further and faster than any other major broadcaster? Most certainly.’
The difference in pay for men and women presenting programmes together is likely to cause the greatest uproar.
A very senior source said: ‘One of the issues here is the massive gender gap.’
Another added: ‘It is pretty uncomfortable if two people are sat at the same desk or on the same sofa, and the man is paid more than the woman for what is ostensibly the same job.’
The BBC claimed releasing the figures – in £50,000 salary bands – would make it easier for rivals to poach staff and force up the talent bill.
When it lost the argument, it argued it should have to publish salary details only for people on £450,000 or above.
It also fought to delay publication to buy time to even up the gender pay gap and move staff off its books.
It has to publish salary details for stars it employs directly, including news presenters, the vast majority of radio hosts and other key television stars.
However, some major names such as Graham Norton and Mary Berry will escape the list because presenters employed via a third-party production company will not have their pay disclosed.
The BBC will be able to keep the pay of dozens of its top TV stars a secret in future years because it has spun off its production arm, BBC Studios, as a commercial company subject to the same loophole.
This will be of limited help to the BBC this year when most of its on-screen talent will face the full glare of public scrutiny.
One ministerial source told the Mail: ‘They have resisted this all the way. They have fought against it tooth and nail.’
Lord Tony Hall told staff yesterday: ‘In all the negotiations with the Government about our Royal Charter, we said it would be wrong to put the names of our talent against what they’re paid. We do believe in transparency. In fact, we, uniquely in the media, have published what we’ve been paying to talent in bands for the last seven years – but without naming them.
Bosses let top stars go on social media to defend giant salaries
The BBC will make a dramatic break with protocol today by allowing its top-earning stars to defend their pay on social media.
Presenters such as Match of the Day host Gary Lineker and News at Ten anchor Huw Edwards are already well known for their Twitter rants.
However, the BBC will let them take on their critics directly today when it publishes the list of top earning employees.
Mr Lineker – thought to be one of its highest paid stars – has 5million Twitter followers and a reputation for inflammatory remarks.
Last year, he called those who questioned the age of refugees coming from Calais ‘hideously racist’.
And Mr Edwards found himself in hot water in 2015 when he used Facebook to mock the viewing figures of ITV’s News at Ten.
The BBC has not laid out specific guidance for how stars should behave online, and is leaving them to decide how much they want to discuss publicly when their salaries are revealed.
Meanwhile, bosses are dealing with complaints inside the Corporation from stars who feel that they are underpaid compared with their peers.
Dozens have demanded meetings ahead of today’s disclosure after learning their colleagues are on the list but they are not.
Many female presenters are allegedly furious to learn they do not earn as much as their male counterparts, even though they do more or less the same job.
Others are incredulous that some little-known names who rarely bring in big stories earn more than some of the BBC’s best journalists who risk their lives in warzones.
The BBC faces the threat of walkouts and defections to rival broadcasters eager to poach them.
The corporation will for the first time reveal the names and pay details of presenters earning £150,000 or more, in £50,000 salary bands. Insiders said the pay discrepancies are already proving ‘toxic’ and the ill-feeling is set to get worse when more details are published this morning.
Bosses have been meeting individually with the 96 staff who are on the list and warning them about the likely backlash from the public. In some cases, it has offered them protection in case criticism turns to threats or violence.
Lord Tony Hall, director general, yesterday warned staff against making comparisons.
A senior insider said some pay gaps appear worse than they really are because the BBC has refused to publish precise figures. Staff who earn similar figures but whose pay falls either side of a salary band could believe the discrepancy was actually up to £100,000.
The BBC’s top earners finally revealed:
Top Of The BBC Pops
- Chris Evans: Up to £2.49million
- Gary Lineker: Up to £1.8million
- Graham Norton: Up to £900,000 (exc main fee which is via production company)
- Jeremy Vine: Up to £750,000
- John Humphrys: Up to £650,000
- Huw Edwards: Up to £600,000
- Steve Wright: Up to £550,000
- Claudia Winkleman: Up to £500,000
- Matt Baker: Up to £500,000
- Alan Shearer: Up to £500,000
- George Alagiah: Up to £299,000
- Fiona Bruce: up to £399,000
- Dan Walker: Up to £249,000
- Gary Lineker: Up to £1.8million
- Craig Revel Horwood: Up to £199,000
- Darcey Bussell: Up to £199,000
- Bruno Tonioli: Up to £249,000
- Len Goodman: Up to £249,000
- Chris Evans: Up to £2.25million
- Eddie Mair: Up to £349,000
- Nick Robinson: Up to £299,000
- Moira Stuart: Up to £199,000
- Vanessa Feltz: Up to £399,000
- John McEnroe: Up to £199,000
- Stephen Nolan: Up to £449,000
- Casualty actor Derek Thompson: £400,000
- Amanda Mealing: £250k-£299k
- Adam Woodyatt & Danny Dyer: £200k-£249k
- Lacey Turner (and others) £150k-£199k