BBC reveals highest paid on-screen talent

Raj Baddhan

Senior Editor


For the first time, the BBC has published a list of highest paid on-screen talent, with Chris Evans, presenter of BBC Radio 2′ Breakfast show topping the list with earnings between £2.2m and £2.25m in 2016/2017.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ presenter Claudia Winkleman was named the most paid female celebrity with income between £450,000 and £500,000. Looking at personalities from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background, George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson received between £250,000 and £300,000. BBC news presenter Mishal Hussain was a little lower with earnings between £200,000 and £250,000.

The BBC has come under fire for not doing enough to close the pay gap between male and female stars. However, Director General, Tony Hall has pointed out that more will be done on gender and diversity. Furthermore, there also seems to be disparity between the pay white stars received over BAME background.

The 96 names were published for the first time under terms of the BBC’s new Royal Charter. The list was compiled based on talent earning more than £150,000.

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says: “Of the 43,000 talent contracts with the BBC last year, less than a quarter of one per cent were paid more than £150,000.

“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. It is widely acknowledged that on the whole the BBC pays less than its competitors while delivering high-quality and award-winning content.

“We have significantly reduced the total bill spent on paying talent, down again this year by 2.5%. The bill for top talent is down 10% year on year, and down by a quarter over the last five years. The amount we pay the very highest earners has dropped by 40% across the same period. At the same time, there has been significant cost inflation across the industry, so that BBC has made savings in an environment where costs are significantly up.

“On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the Civil Service. We have set the most stretching targets in the industry for on-air diversity and we’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.

“At the moment, of the talent earning over £150,000, two thirds are men and one third are women. We’ve set a clear target for 2020: we want all our lead and presenting roles to be equally divided between men and women. And it’s already having an impact. If you look at those on the list who we have hired or promoted in the last three years, 60% are women and nearly a fifth come from a BAME background.”