On Wednesday, the BBC revealed the salaries of its top 96 on-air talents – but the decision to move some of its shows over to commercial entity BBC Studios could mean that over a third of them will not feature in next year’s list.
Production of some of the BBC’s biggest shows, including EastEnders, Casualty, Strictly Come Dancing and DIY SOS, has been moved over to the BBC’s new production company BBC Studios. Because the new company is a commercial organisation, it is not required to reveal how much it pays its staff and talent.
That means that the likes of Strictly hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, Casualty’s Derek Thompson and DIY SOS’s Nick Knowles will disappear from the list next year.
The Guardian reports that at least 35 of the 96 stars on this year’s list will not feature next year. The current list only publishes the salaries of stars who are paid directly by the BBC licence fee. That means independent production companies who produce shows for the BBC are exempt.
This means that it will be even more difficult to monitor the gender and diversity pay gaps for which the BBC was criticised in the wake of the reveal. This year, only a third of its top earners were women, while all of the top seven were men. Just ten per cent of the list were non-white.
The list showed that Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans is the broadcaster’s top earner at a yearly salary of at least £2.2m, closely flanked by Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker with between £1.75m and £1.8m. The highest-paid female at the BBC is Claudia Winkleman, earning between £450,000-£499,000.
BBC director-general Tony Hall was unable to confirm how many staff would leave the list as a result of the switch.
“I can’t predict for next year. What I can predict is we will be managing this very, very carefully and, as you have seen a fall in the money we are paying for talent year after year, expect that to continue,” he said.
The reveal came as a result of a new charter as negotiated by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, which aims to make the broadcaster more open and transparent to licence-fee payers.
During negotiations last year, the BBC argued that revealing salaries from BBC Studios would be commercially sensitive, the reasoning being that the body is not directly funded by licence fee payer’s money.
Culture minister Lord Ashton said: “They will not be benefiting from taxpayer funding, it needs to operate on a fully commercial basis to be successful [and disclosure] would undermine BBC Studios’ ability to compete effectively in the market.”