BBC’s ‘talent’ bill falls 10% as big-earners take pay cuts: Corporation’s wage cost is slashed after stars including Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball agreed to reduced payment, annual report shows
- Total amount handed out to biggest stars has dropped by more than £2m in year
- Last year, Gary Lineker agreed to give up about £400,000 of his £1.75m pay
- Zoe Ball asked to take a pay cut as she felt ‘uncomfortable’ about her £1m rise
The BBC has cut the wage bill for its top talent by 10 per cent after high-earning stars such as Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball took pay cuts, today’s annual report from the corporation will reveal.
The figures are set to show the total amount handed out to the biggest stars, on £150,000 or more, has dropped by more than £2million in the space of a year.
This means the figures, covering the 2020/21 financial year, will show the corporation spent about £19.6million on its top stars, down from £21.7million the year before.
Last year, it was announced that Match of the Day host Lineker had agreed to give up about £400,000 of his £1.75million pay package, as part of a five-year deal.
The BBC has cut the wage bill for its top talent by 10 per cent after high-earning stars such as Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball took pay cuts, today’s annual report from the corporation will reveal
This was set to make Miss Ball the corporation’s highest paid star, but it then emerged that the Radio 2 presenter had asked to take a pay cut as she felt ‘uncomfortable’ about her £1million rise.
In total, she had been paid about £1.36million for 2019/20. Another of the highest earners, Graham Norton – who was paid up to £729,999 last year – left his Radio 2 show in December, meaning he is expected to be paid less this time round.
He still presents his regular TV talk show. His replacement on Radio 2, Claudia Winkleman, did not start until February. While the figures on top talent do not reveal the complete picture on talent pay, such as lower paid stars, they come after the new director-general Tim Davie prioritised bearing down on costs.
An insider at the corporation said of the cuts to top paid talent: ‘This is down to pay cuts and salary negotiations – particularly for those at the top end of the list.’
The annual report will also reveal whether the total talent pay bill – including those on less than £150,000 – has gone down. Last year there was sur- prise when this overall figure rose by more than £1million to £144.7million.
Zoe Ball asked to take a pay cut as she felt ‘uncomfortable’ about her £1million rise
Behold, the ‘new’ logo
A new ‘tidier’ BBC logo has been criticised as a waste of licence-payers’ cash as it is almost identical to the existing one.
It still uses the corporation’s own typeface – BBC Reith – which bosses say saves on cost, but has a larger gap between the blocks.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said the redesign was a ‘waste of money’.
The BBC declined to say how much was spent but insisted: ‘It would be wrong to suggest that the costs of the design of the blocks was significant.’
A BBC source said last night: ‘Everyone knows that the last year in lockdown has been a challenge for everyone. The BBC will be releasing a report that shows we have made a difference to the public during this challenging period. While doing that, the BBC has also been reforming at pace. The report will feature a range of measures that show real and tangible progress.
‘For example, our pay bill for top talent is down by 10 per cent. This is not an isolated figure, but one of a range of other stats that demonstrate we are on the right path.’
While Lineker, Miss Ball and Norton took the top three places in last year’s talent pay list, others in the top ten included Radio 2’s Steve Wright, news presenter Huw Edwards and Question Time host Fiona Bruce.
Vanessa Feltz, who presents on Radio 2 and BBC Radio London, and Desert Island Disc’s Lauren Laverne took the total number of women in the list to four. Football pundit Alan Shearer and 5 Live’s Stephen Nolan completed the list.
Names such as Ken Bruce, Emily Maitlis and Claudia Winkelman were just outside the top ten.
Some of the top stars earn significantly more than what is revealed in the annual report because of their work with other companies.
Lineker until recently also hosted BT Sport’s Champions League coverage, while other presenters get paid to appear at external events such as conferences.
Some stars receive their money through the BBC’s commercial arm, with these payments not appearing in the corporation’s annual report.
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