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BBC Reveals Stars’ Salaries Amid Controversy Over Pay for Women

Variety logo Variety 7/19/2017 Stewart Clarke
© Provided by Variety

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 figures with names against them in its annual report, and as expected, the data showed that most of the big earners are men.

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 in the “multi-genre” category was Claudia Winkelman, in the £450,000 to £449,000 bracket.

The earnings are for talent paid out of the BBC’s £3.8 billion licence fee and not for those working for independent producers making BBC shows, or for BBC Worldwide.

Gary 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 £349,000.

In entertainment, Alex Jones, presenter of “The One Show,” earned the most, pulling in between £400,000 and £449,000. The highest-earning actor was Derek Thompson in the £350,000 to £399,999 bracket, ahead of Amanda Mealing, on between £250,000 and £299,999. Both are 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 £249,000 bracket.

Two-thirds of the stars earning more £150,000 are men, fueling a debate on gender equity at the BBC. The Corporation committed to equal air time and pay for women by 2020, and for 15% black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation. BBC boss Tony Hall said that the broadcaster was doing more than any of its peers to address the gender imbalance.

The figures are for the 2016/17 financial year. “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,” said BBC director general Tony Hall. “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 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 salaries anonymously before, but this is the first time it has put names against the figures for stars earning over £150,000. The BBC had fought against publishing the figures, arguing doing so will have an inflationary effect, a sentiment echoed by some of its commercial rivals including Sky.

(Note: £1.00 = $1.30)

Related video: Jessica Chastain defends rumored rival Jennifer Lawrence while chatting Hollywood's pay gap for women (Provided by Wonderwall)



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