Tuesday 15 October 2019

Claudia Winkleman, Vanessa Feltz and Zoe Ball - three women among BBC top 10 earners

Zoe Ball, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz are among the highest-paid BBC stars (PA)
Zoe Ball, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz are among the highest-paid BBC stars (PA)

Claudia Winkleman, Vanessa Feltz and Zoe Ball have featured in the BBC’s list of top 10 earning talent, the corporation has reported.

This is the first time since presenter salaries were disclosed in 2017 that women have made the top 10.

Sports presenter Gary Lineker is still the corporation’s top talent earner overall for the second year in a row, according to the BBC.

Gary Lineker (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Former Radio 2 breakfast show host Chris Evans, who left the corporation in December, is still featured among the highest earners.

He was succeeded by Ball and her figure will only reflect what she earned for hosting the show in the first three months of the year, as well as her earnings for the Saturday show she hosted before that.

Here are the top 10 highest-paid BBC stars in 2018/19, according to the corporation’s latest annual report.

A total of 11 individuals are in the top 10, due to a tie in 10th place.

The equivalent figure for 2017/18 is included in brackets.

1. Gary Lineker: £1,750,000 – £1,754,999 (£1,750,000 – £1,759,999)
2. Chris Evans: £1,250,000 – £1,254,999 (£1,660,000 – £1,669,999
3. Graham Norton: £610,000 – £614,999 (£600,000 – £609,999)
4. Huw Edwards: £490,000 – £494,999 (£520,000 – £529,999)
5. Steve Wright: £465,000 – £469,999 (£550,000 – £559,999)
6. Alan Shearer: £440,000 – £444,999 (£410,000 – £419,999)
7. Andrew Marr: £390,000 – £394,999 (£400,000 – £409,999)
8. Zoe Ball: £370,000 – £374,999 (not in last year’s list)
= Claudia Winkleman: £370,000 – £374,999 (£370,000 – £379,999)
10. Vanessa Feltz: £355,000 – £359,999 (£330,000 – £339,999)
= Jason Mohammad: £355,000 – £359,999 (£260,000 – £269,999)

BBC chief Lord Hall said the broadcaster had “turned the corner on gender pay”.

But in a statement posted by Today programme presenter Mishal Husain, the group BBC Women suggested it was too early to celebrate.

“There has been some progress in the last two years, but many women at all levels of the BBC are locked into slow, inefficient and demoralising internal processes,” they said.

“New equal pay cases are still emerging and staff are yet to have confidence that pay inequality is in the past.”

(PA Graphics)

Lord Hall said that “in 2019/20 we expect 45% of our highest earners to be women, and 55% to be men. Three years ago just 25% were women”.

He said: “This is significant change. The task is not complete, we are not complacent, but we are well on our way.”

Chris Evans is still on the list (Yui Mok/PA)

And he said of Lineker: “Every time contracts come up we look at them, we negotiate hard with people but Gary does do an excellent job.”

Many men, such as Today presenter John Humphrys (a fall of £110,000), Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine (a drop of around £150,000) and Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw (by around £90,000), have taken pay cuts.

But some men, such as BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker (by around £60,000), Today presenters Justin Webb and Nick Robinson have had rises (£85,000 and £40,000 respectively).

And they are topped by TV and radio presenter Jason Mohammad who has pocketed a £95,000 increase.

The figures are the first salary disclosures since the BBC announced it will scrap the universal free TV licence for over-75s.

And they came after the BBC’s director-general said the public backs the broadcaster giving high salaries to “big stars” because they are “talented and entertaining”.

The total talent bill has gone up by almost £11 million to around £159 million while 75 people at the BBC now earn over £150,000, up from 64 last year, figures from the report show.

Radio 2 DJ and BBC presenter Jo Whiley has seen an increase in her salary, up around £100,000 on the previous year to around £270,000.

6 Music host Lauren Laverne’s salary goes up by £75,000, while Radio 4 Today programme presenters Martha Kearney (£45,000) and Husain (£35,000) have also seen their salaries increase.

Evans’s Breakfast Show replacement Ball is one of the women to make the top 10 for the first time, with around £370,000.

Zoe Ball makes the top 10 for the first time (Yui Mok/PA)

The figure for her salary will rise next year as she only started her job in January.

Winkleman is now in the top 10, but she is in the list because some men have fallen out, not because her pay has gone up.

And her salary, of around £370,000, does not include payments for Strictly Come Dancing as the BBC has defied calls to publish salaries of those paid through BBC Studios, which is not funded by the licence fee and became a commercial entity.

Claudia Winkleman is in the top 10 (Ian West/PA)

Feltz completes the list of three women in the top 10, with around £355,000 for work on Radio 2 and Radio London.

(PA Graphics)

Men in the top 10 include TV newsreader Huw Edwards, who has taken a pay cut and is now on around £490,000 and fourth in the list.

Radio 1 breakfast show host Greg James is up around £55,000, while football pundit Alan Shearer has seen a rise of £30,000 to around £440,000.

DJ Steve Wright has also taken a cut and is on around £465,000 and in fifth place.

Alan Shearer (Ian West/PA)

The BBC announced that free licences will be restricted to over-75s who claim pension credit from June 1 next year.

Stars such as Len Goodman and Dame Esther Rantzen have criticised the end of the universal payments, and many have urged the Government to commit to the funding.

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