Three alumni of Durham University are among the BBC’s 96 highest-paid employees, as revealed when the corporation was forced on Wednesday to publish the salaries of all staff earning above £150,000.
Radio host Jeremy Vine, newsreader George Alagiah and sports presenter Gabby Logan all made the list of high-earners, with Mr Vine paid at least £700,000, Mr Alagiah around £250,000 and Ms Logan approximately £200,000.
Mr Vine, a former Hatfielder and editor for this newspaper in 1986, was asked on his Radio 2 show whether he thought he and other staff at the BBC were “overpaid”, and responded by saying: “some are”.
The Eggheads host and election night infographics frontman was also minded to respond to a cartoon in The Daily Telegraph that mocked the BBC’s apparent gender pay gap, saying: “As the father of two young girls, I hope they won’t understand this cartoon by the time they start work”.
Mr Alagiah, also a previous Palatinate editor and ex-Mildertian, appeared as the highest-paid BME figure in the listing, while Ms Logan, who read Law at Hild Bede, emerged as being in the top ten of female earners.
The BBC has been under fire from some quarters as a result of the disclosures, condemned by some as sexist. Of the state broadcaster’s top nine best-paid stars, only one is a woman, sparking allegations of a gender pay gap and demands for serious changes to be implemented within the corporation.
The highest paid star, Chris Evans, former Top Gear presenter and host of the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2, earns in the pay bracket of £2.2 to £2.25 million, almost five times more than the highest-paid female star, Strictly Come Dancing‘s Claudia Winkelman.
Meanwhile, Ms Logan, who has presented such programmes as Final Score and Sports Personality of the Year, was revealed to earn a fraction of the salary of the BBC’s second-highest paid figure, Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who earns an annual £1.75-1.79m.
Prime Minister Theresa May was moved to discuss the apparent gender pay gap in an interview with LBC radio, saying: “We have seen the way that the BBC is paying women less for doing the same job as men. I want to see women paid equally.”
John Humphrys, the fourth-best star on the list, responded to the controversy: “What do I do? On paper, absolutely nothing justifies that amount of money […] However, we operate in a market place and I think I provide a fairly useful service.”
The top eight highest paid stars, with salaries over £500,000 in the last financial year, are male. However, the Times newspaper’s analysis of the pay gap “suggests that female stars at the BBC are not necessarily being paid less for the same jobs or the same hours as their male peers but are rather not valued in the same way”.
The gender pay discrepancy is not the only issue to be raised by the BBC’s published figures, recently released under the conditions of its new Royal Charter: there is also concern in some circles that just ten stars named were from a minority background.
The corporation’s top eight earners are listed below.
The BBC’s highest paid stars in descending order:
- Chris Evans: £2.20-£2.25 million
- Gary Lineker: £1.75-£1.79 million
- Graham Norton: £850-899,000
- Jeremy Vine: £700-749,000
- John Humphreys: £600-649,000
- Huw Edwards: £550-599,000
- Steve Wright: £500-549,000
- Matt Baker: £450-499,000
- Claudia Winkleman: £450-499,000
Photograph by Bryan Ledgard via Flickr and Creative Commons