BBC to unveil next star salaries list in annual report

Gary Lineker, Graham Norton and Chris Evans
Image caption Gary Lineker, Graham Norton and Chris Evans were the highest-paid stars in last year’s list

The BBC is to publish the latest list of its highest-paid stars later as part of its annual report.

It will be the second year that the corporation has made public the pay of those earning more than £150,000.

Many will be watching to see whether the BBC has made progress on the gender imbalance that was revealed last year.

More women are expected to feature – though many names from last year’s list will be absent as programmes made by BBC Studios do not have to be included.

BBC Studios makes many of the corporation’s most popular programmes but is a subsidiary that has been classed as a commercial entity since April 2017.

That means salaries of actors, presenters and contributors on its shows don’t have to be made public this time.

Who will be on the list?

Stars and presenters from:

  • News and Current Affairs
  • Sport
  • Children’s
  • Radio shows that are made by the BBC in house – which includes most live daytime shows

Who will be removed from the list?

Stars and presenters from:

  • TV dramas like EastEnders, Doctor Who and Casualty
  • TV entertainment shows like Strictly Come Dancing
  • Factual TV shows like The One Show and DIY SOS
  • TV comedies like Still Open All Hours and Mrs Brown’s Boys

The highest-paid stars on last year’s list were Chris Evans, Gary Lineker and Graham Norton.

Image caption Sarah Montague and Emily Maitlis were revealed to earn less than male co-hosts

On last year’s list, the top seven earners – and two thirds of the names overall – were men, leading to an outcry about gender inequality.

After the publication, several high-profile male presenters agreed to pay cuts. Nicky Campbell, Huw Edwards, Jon Sopel, Jeremy Vine, Nick Robinson and John Humphrys all accepted reduced wages, the BBC announced in January.

Last year’s list brought to light several instances where women earned less than men in similar jobs.

Emily Maitlis earned less than £150,000, so did not make the list, but fellow Newsnight presenter Evan Davis was revealed to earn more than £250,000.

Sarah Montague also did not appear, but her Today co-presenter John Humphrys earned more than £600,000.

However, that included his wage for presenting Mastermind on BBC Two – a portion of his salary which will be absent this year because the series is now under the BBC Studios umbrella.

Similarly, Fiona Bruce’s salary will now only include what she is paid for presenting the flagship BBC News bulletins, and not what she earns for Antiques Roadshow.

Image caption Left-right: Nicky Campbell, Huw Edwards, Jon Sopel, Jeremy Vine, Nick Robinson and John Humphrys

Carrie Gracie, the BBC’s China editor, recently received an apology and back pay from the corporation after it was revealed she was on a significantly lower wage than North America editor Jon Sopel and Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen.

This year’s list will cover the 2017/18 financial year. The BBC is compelled to reveal the information under the terms of its royal charter.

Analysis

By Amol Rajan, BBC media editor

Once upon a time, the BBC’s director general argued against public disclosure of the salaries of broadcasters on over £150,000, claiming it would be inflationary and a “poacher’s charter”.

On Wednesday, we will find out the extent to which the former is true. On the latter question, Tony Hall has changed his mind.

Partly because of the uproar about both gender pay across the organisation and equal pay for particular roles, the BBC is now embracing transparency by going further than it did last year.

This year’s list will have more detail. Those included will see their pay separated into constituent parts if they do more than one particular programme or job. The salary bands in which presenters appear will cover £10,000 ranges, rather than £50,000.

There will also be broad forecasts for earnings over the coming year.

This is being included because one frustration for senior figures at the BBC is that the annual report is backward-looking, and changes don’t filter through until the following year.

For instance, when some presenters have agreed a big pay cut in recent months, that won’t necessarily show up in this annual report.

Image caption Alex Jones and Matt Baker were on last year’s list, but won’t appear this year as The One Show is produced by BBC Studios, which is now a commercial entity

This will also complicate analysis of how far the BBC has come on the gender pay gap and equal pay.

I reported last week that the BBC has significantly reduced its median gender pay gap, from 9.3% to 7.6%.

We will get a sense of whether it has addressed a majority of the grievance complaints lodged, or given significant pay rises to high-profile female presenters who were paid less than men for doing similar jobs – but not a definitive answer.

The other change will be that, with the merger of BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide, many famous names who are paid by BBC Studios and were on last year’s list will not be on this year’s.

This will prompt accusations that the BBC’s message on transparency is mixed. The BBC argues that BBC Studios is a commercial entity, and disclosing salaries would put it at a severe commercial disadvantage.

The other accusation that the BBC may face is that, for all the noise and some undoubted progress, the top of the list is still dominated by men.

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