Chris Evans is the highest paid BBC star earning more than £2m a year

The Radio 2 presenter tops the list of top earners with Casualty star Derek Thompson the highest paid actor


Radio 2 presenter and former Top Gear host Chris Evans is the highest paid star at the BBC. 


He took home between £2.2m and £2.25m in the year to April 2017 and topped the list of 96 on-screen personalities whose salary the BBC was forced to disclose today. His pay is understood to include a portion of his earnings from his one-series stint on Top Gear.

Evans easily beat the next highest paid star, Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker, who earned between £1.75m and £1.8m over the same period. The salaries were revealed in £50,000 bands.

Graham Norton, a ubiquitous BBC presence, took home between £850,000 and £900,000 but he is believed to earn more via a production fee for his company So Television which makes his chat show.

LIVE UPDATES: How much do the BBC’s top on-screen stars get paid?

The highest paid actor is Casualty’s Derek Thompson who has played nurse Charlie Fairhead on the show ever since it started in the 1980s. He earned between £350,000 and £400,000 over the period, ahead of Holby City star Amanda Mealing who earned between £250,000 and £300,00.

The BBC has already apologised for the fact that two thirds of those earning £150,000 or more are men, a problem first revealed by last week.

And males dominate the list of best paid radio stars with Radio 2’s Steve Wright earning the most – he is on between £500,000 and £550,000 a year – with Nicky Campbell next on between £400,000 and £450,000.

Tennis pundit John McEnroe is a surprise name on the list. The former player, whose BBC duties principally take place during the Wimbledon fortnight, took home between £150,000 and £200,000 of licence fee payers’ money over the year.

Radio Times columnist Eddie Mair is another unexpected name topping the list of news presenters. The host of PM on Radio 4 took home between £300,000 and £350,000 in the year, ahead of the next highest paid, Nick Robinson and George Alagiah, who were on between £250,000 and £300,000.

The highest paid female news staffers were Victoria Derbyshire, Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney and Laura Kuenssberg all of whom earned between £200,000 and £250,000.

The highest paid entertainment presenter is The One Show’s Alex Jones who took home between £400,000 and £450,000 followed by Strictly’s Tess Daly on between £350,000 and £400,000.

Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi earned between £200,000 and £250,000 over the financial year.

The BBC, whose whole wage bill for the entire period was £1.01bn, is bracing itself for a backlash about the revelations.

Especially embarrassing are the disclosures that there is a serious gender pay gap with two thirds of the 96 highest paid stars being men.

BBC director general Tony Hall already apologised for the discrepancy ahead of the formal publication this morning.

He said: “One issue I think the disclosures highlight is the need to go further and faster on issues of gender and diversity. In over four years here, I have made this a particular priority of mine. We’ve made real progress.

“It’s great to listen to the Today programme some mornings presented entirely by women. And when I said I wanted half the presenters on local radio morning shows to be women – we’ve done it.

“Currently, one third of the top-earners are women”, Mr Hall said, adding: “Are we pushing further and faster than any other major broadcaster?  Most certainly.

“We’re not afraid to walk away if money becomes an issue. And that’s one of the reasons we’re the biggest investor in new British talent there is.

“People want the very best talent on the BBC. And the reality is that the BBC today costs them less in real terms than it did 20 years ago. But now we offer four times as many television channels, twice as many national radio stations, iPlayer – and everything we do online. 

“All for less than three pounds a week – that’s about 40p a day.  And, you’ll see in our Annual Report, the extraordinary value that represents.”