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BBC pay: Male stars earn more than female talent

The BBC has revealed two-thirds of its stars earning more than £150,000 are male, with Chris Evans the top-paid on between £2.2m and £2.25m.

Claudia Winkleman was the highest-paid female celebrity, earning between £450,000 and £500,000 last year, its annual report for 2016/2017 says.

The One Show’s Alex Jones was second, earning between £400,000 and £450,000.

BBC director general Tony Hall said there was “more to do” on the gender pay gap.

The top seven earners, in the list of the BBC’s 96 best-paid stars, were all male.

It is the first time the pay of stars earning more than £150,000 has been made public.

The BBC has been compelled to reveal the information under the terms of its new Royal Charter.

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Speaking on LBC Radio, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We’ve seen the way the BBC is paying women less for doing the same job… I want women to be paid equally.”

When asked if Evans was worth considerably more than her, she said: “What’s important is that the BBC looks at the question of paying men and women the same for doing the same job.”

The total bill for the 96 personalities was £28.7m but the figures in the report reveal large disparities between what men and women are paid.

“On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service,” Lord Hall said.

“We’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.”

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When asked if female stars working at the BBC would now be asking for pay rises, Lord Hall said: “We will be working carefully on our relationship with our talent.”

Trade union Equity said in a statement: “The apparent pay gaps in gender and for those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are troubling.”

Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey tweeted: “I’m looking forward to presenting @BBCWomansHour today. We’ll be discussing #GenderPayGap . As we’ve done since 1946. Going well, isn’t it?”

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis retweeted Garvey’s message.

Other high profile omissions including the Today programme’s Sarah Montague, BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin and Woman’s Hour’s Jenni Murray.

Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys, acknowledged that his £600,000 salary was hard to justify: “On paper, absolutely nothing that justifies that huge amount of money, if you compare me with lots of other people who do visibly.

“If a doctor saves a child’s life, if a nurse comforts a dying person, a fireman rushes into Grenfell Tower, then of course you could argue that compared with that sort of thing I’m not worth tuppence ha’penny. However, we operate in a market place.”

There is also a gap between the pay for white stars and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.

George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson are the highest paid BAME presenters, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

The highest-paid female star with a BAME background is BBC news presenter Mishal Husain, who earned between £200,000 and £250,000.

The annual report does not include stars who receive their pay through BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm.

The figures quoted only refer to the amount of licence fee money each person receives and do not include their earnings from other broadcasters or commercial activities. They also exclude stars paid through independent production companies.

That means some big name stars – such as David Attenborough, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt LeBlanc – do not appear on the list.

The list also does not distinguish between people who are paid for doing multiple jobs within the BBC and those who are just paid for one. Talent pay is considerably higher in the commercial sector.

As he left the BBC after his Radio 2 breakfast show on Wednesday, Chris Evans said it was right “on balance” that star salaries were being disclosed.

“We are the ultimate public company I think, and therefore it’s probably right and proper people know what we get paid,” he told reporters.

During a briefing on the annual report on Wednesday morning, Lord Hall said: “Chris Evans is presenting the most popular show on the most popular radio network in Europe.

“The BBC does not exist in a market on its own where it can set the market rates.

“If we are to give the public what they want, then we have to pay for those great presenters and stars.”

Aside from Strictly, Winkleman’s other BBC roles include presenting The Great British Sewing Bee and her Radio 2 Sunday night show. Her agent said she would be making no comment.

Casualty star Derek Thompson was the BBC’s highest paid actor, receiving between £350,000 and £400,000 over the last financial year.

Amanda Mealing, who also stars in Casualty as well as Holby City, was the highest paid actress, receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

Clare Balding earned between £150,000 and £200,000 for her work on sports shows including Wimbledon Today and the Rio Olympics.

The overall spend on talent was £193.5m – down on the £200m spent in 2015/2016.

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