February 2, 2023

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Gary Lineker stays top of BBC star pay list

Gary Lineker was paid £1.36m for presenting Match of the Day and Sports Personality of the Year. [Source: BBC News]

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has topped a list of the BBC’s best-paid stars for the fifth year in a row, taking £1.35m in the last financial year.

That’s slightly down on the £1.36m he earned in the previous year, which came after he took a pay cut from £1.75m.

Radio 2 breakfast show host Zoe Ball is second on the new list, with £980,000. She also previously earned more but took a 28% pay cut at the end of 2020.

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She’s one of three women in this year’s top 10, down from four last year.

Fiona Bruce and Vanessa Feltz have also made the cut again, but 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne has dropped out of the top 10 after her pay fell by £15,000 to £380,000.

The figures were published in the corporation’s latest annual report, which also revealed a sharp drop in the time UK adults spend watching TV every day.

Average viewing dropped from eight hours 11 minutes in 2020/21 to seven hours 12 minutes in 2021/22, although part of that fall may be explained by people watching less than they did during the height of the pandemic. However, iPlayer usage has increased by around 12%.

Meanwhile, 90% of the British population continues to use BBC services each week.

The star salaries list does not include all presenters and actors because the corporation’s commercial arm BBC Studios, which makes many of programmes, does not have to publish its talent spend.

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So for example, Claudia Winkleman is only listed for her weekly Radio 2 show and not for presenting Strictly Come Dancing, which is made by BBC Studios.

Graham Norton has dropped off the list entirely after he left his Saturday Radio 2 show in December 2020, while the fee for his TV chat show, which is made for BBC One by his commercial company So Television, is not listed.

Seventy-four on-air people earning more than £150,000 were listed this year, with the gender split similar to last year – 41 men (55%) and 33 women (45%). Previous director general Tony Hall had pledged that the gap would be closed by 2020.

Radio 1 breakfast host Greg James is the only new entry in the top 10, with Huw Edwards the only name apart from Lineker in the top 10 to have seen a pay reduction. The news presenter’s earnings fell from £425,000 in 2020/21 to £410,000 in 2021/22.

Some had an increase, with Alan Shearer getting a £60,000 pay bump. He now takes home £450,000 a year for his work on football shows including Match of the Day.

Scott Mills, who is moving from Radio 1 to take up Steve Wright’s afternoon slot on Radio 2 later this year, had an increase of £15,000. Wright also had a £15,000 pay rise, although his salary is likely to be reduced next year when he leaves his current daytime show.

There are no broadcasters from ethnic minority backgrounds in the top 10.

The gender pay gap widened for the first time since the BBC began recording its figures in 2017.

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It now stands at 5.9%, up on last year’s 5.2%.

The BBC said this could be down to several factors, including attrition – the loss of employees through retirement, redundancy or resignation who are not subsequently replaced.

While there was no pay gap for ethnic minority BBC staff members in last year’s report, there is now a gap of 1.6%, while the disability pay gap increased from 4% to 5.9%.

The wage bill for all on-air talent overall is down slightly at £129.8m. Last year it was £130m.