Entertainment & Arts

BBC stars react to their salaries being revealed

Gary Lineker's tweet Image copyright @GaryLineker

Stars and broadcasters have given their reaction to the BBC releasing details of what it pays its top talent.

Radio 2 host Chris Evans topped the table, in a salary bracket of £2,200,000 - £2,249,999.

He was followed by Gary Lineker, Graham Norton and Jeremy Vine - in a list that revealed a gender pay gap and a lack of diversity BBC Director General Tony Hall said must be addressed.

Of those, in the top pay brackets, Gary Lineker tweeted he would be looking for his "tin helmet" after wishing everyone "Happy BBC salary day".

He quipped his agent and commercial channels were to "blame"- possibly for his salary in the region of £1,750,000 - £1,799,999.

"This whole BBC salary exposure business is an absolute outrage," he went on to tweet. "I mean how can @achrisevans be on more than me?"

Another at the top of the list is Radio 4's Today presenter John Humphrys, who admitted his salary of £600,000 was hard to justify.

"What do I do? On paper, absolutely nothing that justifies that huge amount of money, if you compare me with lots of other people who do visibly.

"If a doctor saves a child's life, if a nurse comforts a dying person, a fireman rushes into Grenfell Tower, then of course you could argue that compared with that sort of thing I'm not worth tuppence ha'penny. However we operate in a market place."

Political, documentary and radio host Andrew Marr confirmed he is paid £400,475 a year, describing how that is less than the £600,000 he was "widely reported" to be paid a couple of years ago.

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That covered his Sunday morning politics show, radio work, documentaries, obituaries and work on key news events such as elections and referendums, he said.

The presenter, who suffered a stroke in 2013, added: "As the BBC moves to deal with highly paid employees, my salary has been coming down.

"I now earn £139,000 a year less than I did two years ago.

"In the past I have been offered deals by the BBC's commercial rivals at a higher rate than the corporation would pay."

Image caption Jeremy Vine says he feels "lucky every day"

Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine was accused on air on Wednesday by a former miner of being "grossly, grossly overpaid" along with the other 95 on the talent list.

Harry Jones from Glamorgan told Vine: "I enjoy your programme and I enjoy you personally but I'd like to ask you a direct question, are you embarrassed to pick up your pay cheque?"

Vine said: "I just feel very lucky every day, is the answer to that."

Mr Jones asked: "Do you think you're overpaid?" to which Vine replied: "I don't really want to answer that because I don't think it's the moment for me."

Radio 5 live presenter and The Big Questions TV show host Nicky Campbell said simply that he had been on network radio for 30 years this year.

"Every day I realise what a privilege it is and how lucky I am," he tweeted.

Image caption Andrew Neil makes the list but co-host Jo Coburn does not

Andrew Neil mentioned his inclusion during Wednesday morning's Daily Politics, hosted with Jo Coburn, who is not on the list.

He said: "The BBC has published details of on-screen talent, which you may be surprised to know includes me - as on-screen talent."

Discussing sport, he joked: "Is Gary Lineker coming on to do this bit? That means the budget will be gone for the year."

The list has provoked debate, not least because two-thirds of those on it are men and there are seven of them ahead of the highest-paid woman, Claudia Winkleman.

She earns an amount in the £450,000 - £499,999 bracket. Her agent offered "no comment" in response to the publication.

"I'm looking forward to presenting @BBCWomansHour today," tweeted Jane Garvey.

"We'll be discussing #GenderPayGap. As we've done since 1946. Going well, isn't it?"

Equality question

Speaking on BBC News former shadow culture secretary and former Labour leader Harriet Harman said publishing the list meant "pay discrimination" at the BBC had been "laid bare".

She described it as "the old boys' network where they're feathering their own nests and each others' and there is discrimination and unfairness against women".

"Although everybody will think it's very unfair and outrageous, this is a moment now, when it can be sorted out," she added.

Maria Miller, Basingstoke MP and chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee questioned how the BBC would handle the disparity between men's and women's pay.

"If individuals are doing exactly the same job, it is actually against the law to pay them differently," she said.

"It is still incredibly unclear how the BBC is going to avoid getting into some very difficult legal positions with some of the people they employ."

"All #BBCpay numbers are eye-watering," tweeted Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas. "But to see so many extremely talented women paid less than male 'equivalents' is utterly infuriating."

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Media caption"We do have further to go" says James Purnell, BBC Director of Radio and Education

But BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker took to Twitter to say he earns the same as co-host Louise Minchin for the programme - it is his other BBC commitments in BBC Sport that take his total salary higher.

And Radio 1's Scott Mills opened the floodgates to a large lunch bill with his riposte to fellow DJ Chris Stark's request to buy him lunch.

Hungry Twitterers piled in to place their order after the £250,000 - £299,999 wage bracket earner generously replied: "What would you like?"

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