Friday 15 November 2019

Jeremy Clarkson earns a staggering £14m on Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: PA
Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: PA

Steven Swinford,

JEREMY Clarkson, the Top Gear presenter, has become one of the highest paid presenters in the history of the BBC after taking home more than £14million for his work on the show, accounts have revealed.

Mr Clarkson was paid £8.4million for his stake in a joint venture with BBC Worldwide which exploits Top Gear's global brand, on top of a £4.86million divident payment. He was also paid £1million for his salary as a presenter.

His take home pay eclipses Jonathan Ross's £6million salary when he was at the corporation and Graham Norton's annual pay, which is thought to be around £4.5million.

The BBC's accounts, published yesterday, showed that corporation spent £200million on paying presenters and "talent" last year, a slight fall.

The figures included total of 14 individuals were paid between £500,000 and £5million, although the BBC refused to provide narrower cost bands or publish details on who they were.

Separate figures on senior manager pay show that the corporation has axed just two members of staff earning more than £100,000 in the past year.

Despite a drive to cut the number of managers on "telephone number salaries", the number of senior managers at the corporation earning six-figure salaries has fallen from 248 to 245.

However Lucy Adams, the director of human resouces, has joined the executive board meaning that just two positions have been axed.

The accounts also disclose that the cost of the BBC's executive board has risen by almost 55 per cent to £4million over the past year.

Zarin Patel, the corporation's former chief financial officer, saw her pay rise by £29,000 to £366,000. A corporation spokesman said she had sacrificed a month's worth of pay in the previous two years.

Tim Davie, the Chief Executive of BBC Worldwide, saw his pay rise from £349,000 to £408,000. He was paid extra for taking the role of acting director-general.

Mr Clarkson held had a 30 per cent stake in Bedder 6, a joint commercial venture with BBC Worldwide, since 2007. Top Gear's executive produce, Andy Wilman, has a 20% stake in the company.

Bedder 6 was established when the BBC was faced a barrage of criticism over the amount of money it paid out to its star presenters and feared losing them altogether unless it found a way to match offers from rivals.

The venture has proved hugely profitable, and over the past five years has recorded revenues of £149million by selling international licensing rights and commercial deals.

However, the arrangement has proved controversial and the BBC is understood to be keen to put Mr Clarkson back on a straightforward contract.

In September, BBC Worldwide struck a deal to buy out Mr Clarkson and Mr Wilman for a combined £14.4million. A spokesman for BBC Worldwide said that "no licence fee income" had been used to pay shareholders.

A spokesman for BBC Worldwide said: "In just five years the business grew its profits five-fold (and its revenue to £149m), which would not have been possible without the involvement of the show’s creative talent.

"The deal also secured the future of the Top Gear brand for the BBC and BBC Worldwide and we now benefit from 100% of its profit stream.”

A source close to Mr Clarkson said his pay reflected more than his role as a presenter. "He doesn't just turn up and present, he does an awful lot behind the scenes from scripting to ideas," the source said.

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