BBC pay gap: Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball top earners at £1.75m and £1.36m

BBC pay gap: Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball top earners at £1.75m and £1.36m

More of the BBC’s highest paid stars than ever before are women — but men still dominate the lists of the very top earners.

The list of talent earning more than £150,000 is again headed by Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who was paid about £1.75 million according to the broadcaster’s latest report and accounts.

The former England football star is in talks about reducing his pay.

In second place was Radio 2’s breakfast show host Zoe Ball, whose salary was in the £1.36 million to £1.365 million bracket.

Of the 18 stars paid more than £300,000, only one, newsreader George Alagiah, is from a black or Asian background.

Fiona Bruce, who presents Question Time and Antiques Roadshow, was the second-best-paid woman on between £450,000 and £454,999.

The BBC insisted that the list showed a huge shift in the gender pay balance over recent years, with women making up 45 per cent of the list of top paid talent, compared with 24 per cent three years ago.

The number of women in the top 10 earners has gone up from three last year to four, compared with none three years ago.

However, a breakdown of those being paid more than £300,000 a year still shows a marked imbalance, with 12 men and six women.

As well as Lineker, the men are his Match of the Day colleague Alan Shearer (£390,000 to £394,999), chat show host Graham Norton (£725,000 to £729,999), political interviewer Andrew Marr (£360,000 to £364,999), BBC newsreaders Huw Edwards (£465,000 to £469,999) and Alagiah (£325,000 to £329,999), Radio 2 hosts Steve Wright (£475,000 to £479,999), Ken Bruce (£385,000 to £389,999) and Jeremy Vine (£320,000 to £324,999), Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills (£345,000 to £349,999), and Radio 5 Live hosts Nicky Campbell (£300,000 to £304,999) and Stephen Nolan (£390,000 to £394,999).

Apart from Ball and Bruce, the women earning more than £300,000 are Radio 2 presenter Vanessa Feltz (£405,000 to £409,999), BBC 6 Music DJ and Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne (£395,000 to £399,999), Newsnigh presenter Emily Maitlis (£370,000 to £374,999) and Radio 2 host and Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman (£365,000 to £369,999).

Pay packets made through BBC Studios, the broadcaster’s commercial arm, are not revealed. The salaries are being published amid questions about how the BBC will be funded in future.

The licence fee model is guaranteed until December 31 2027, the end of the current charter.

Newly appointed BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “This annual report is a good base from which to create a modern, highly efficient BBC that truly reflects Britain. There are challenges ahead. We need to keep reforming with urgency so that we are trusted, relevant and indispensable in the digital age.”

He added: “Our guiding principle is that we are a BBC for all — a universal public service to serve and represent everyone in every part of the UK. Our focus must be on making sure we deliver outstanding and unique value to all audiences — those who pay for us and are in effect our customers — in return for their licence fee.”