The publicly funded BBC has published the names and salaries of its highest-earning actors and presenters, revealing that its best-paid star, radio host Chris Evans, earns more than £2.2 million ($2.9 million) a year.
The list published Wednesday shows that the BBC pays 96 people at least £150,000 ($195,000) a year, more than Britain’s Prime Minister.
The salaries are published in bands, rather than as exact figures. Former ‘Top Gear’ host Evans gets between £2.2 million and £2.25 million, while ‘Match of the Day’ host Gary Lineker receives between £1.75 million and £1.8 million.
Two-thirds of the top earners are men, and the highest-paid woman earns less than a quarter of Evans’ salary. The broadcaster was ordered by Britain’s government to publish the salaries.
Top male star paid 5 times more than top woman
BBC revealed a yawning gap between the pay of its top male and female stars. In contrast to Chris Evans £2.2 million, the highest paid woman was entertainment presenter Claudia Winkleman, who earned less than half a million pounds for her work on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and other shows
Funded by a licence fee levied on all TV-watching households, the BBC holds a central role in British public life, showing everything from royal weddings and sports events to local news and popular dramas through its TV channels, radio stations, and online sites.
While respected around the world, it has long been resented by its commercial rivals, who argue the licence fee gives it an unfair advantage and distorts the market.
The corporation said needed to pay well to compete for talent with commercial rivals ITV and Sky and internet groups Google and Apple. Some two thirds of the highest paid were men.
Salaries paid to its top journalists showed a similar disparity, with the male presenter of the main nightly news bulletin earning around £200,000 a year more than his female counterpart.
The BBC’s supporters say it is a prized national institution that projects British culture around the world while providing essential domestic and international news.
Director General Tony Hall has acknowledged that the corporation needs to bridge the gender gap, and has vowed to have equality between the numbers of men and women appearing on air, and in the amount they are paid, by 2020.
“We are a global broadcaster, we want to employ stars, we want to employ the very best presenters, correspondents,” Director General Tony Hall said. “We’re in a market, and it’s a competitive market.”