Female BBC Stars Write Open Letter Asking The Corporation To ‘Act Now’ On Pay And Gender


by Ellie Wiseman |
Published on

Forty female BBC stars, including Clare Balding, Fiona Bruce and Sue Barker, have written an open letter to BBC director general, Tony Hall calling for him to tackle the gender pay gap urgently.

Organised by Women's Hour presenter Jane Garvey, the letter called on the BBC to take action following this week’s report which showcased the huge gender pay gap at the corporation.

The report shows ‘what many of us have suspected for many years... that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work,’ the letter said.

‘Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate. However, this is an age of equality and the BBC is an organisation that prides itself on its values. You have said that you will 'sort' the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now,’ the letter continued.

The letter also highlighted how the pay disparity was prevalent across the board, and not just within high paid jobs.

The women who signed the letter said they were prepared to meet with Hall so that ‘future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination’.

Earlier we wrote...


The BBC has vowed to pay the first female Doctor Who the same amount of money as her predecessor Peter Capaldi.

‘Yes, there is parity for the same amount of work,’ the BBC’s director general, Tony Hall told the Evening Standard.

Peter Capaldi was paid between £200,000 and £249,000 for his role on the show in 2016/17, and Whittaker can expect to take home a similar sum.

‘I do think it is time for 13th Time Lord to be a woman. I watched my first Doctor Who in the Sixties, hiding behind the sofa. As a devoted Whovian, I'm incredibly excited,’ Hall commented.

The confirmation comes following news of the giant pay gap amongst the BBC’s highest earning employees.

**Earlier we wrote… **

Yesterday the BBC revealed the salaries of its highest paid stars and exposed the huge gender pay gap at the corporation.

The top seven earners in the BBC's list of 96 best-paid stars were all male, and women only made up a third of the names overall. Furthermore, the best paid woman, Claudia Winkleman, earned between £450,000 and £500,000, while the best paid man, Chris Evans, took home between £2.2m and £2.25m.

There was national outrage at the disparity, and James Purnell, the BBC’s director of radio and education, addressed the issue on last night’s Newsnight. Purnell admitted that male presenters would need to take a pay cut.

‘Quite a lot of men have been taking pay cuts; John Humphrys said that today on air,’ he said in reference to a comment made by the broadcaster on Radio 4's Today programme.

‘I’m not going to start negotiating live on air, but that’s clearly one of the levers we can pull, and we have been doing that,’ Purnell added.

BBC general director Tony Hall responded to the stats by saying the corporation needed to go ‘further and faster’ when it came to tackling gender issues promising to close the gap by 2020.

**Earlier we wrote… **

The BBC has revealed the salaries of its stars who earn more than £150,000.

Radio presenter Chris Evans tops the list with a salary of over £2 million. It is estimated that he earned between £2.2m and £2.25m last year.

Below him are Gary Lineker on £1.75m to £1.8m; Graham Norton on £850,000 to £899,999; and coming in 4th is Jeremy Vine on £700,000 to £749,999.

Most notably, though, the report by the corporation has exposed a large disparity between what male and female stars earn, as just one third of the 96 people included on the highest earners list are women.

The highest earning female on the list is Claudia Winkleman - the co-presenter of Strictly Come Dancing (which raked in 13.1 million viewers last year) - who reportedly earned between £450,000 and £499,999 last year. However, she comes in at joint 8th on the list. Winkleman and Alex Jones - who presents The One Show - are the only two females who earn more than £400,000, compared to 12 men.

The Guardian exposed the report’s stark gender pay gap with some examples of what male stars earn in comparison to their female counterparts. Huw Edwards, for example, is earning £550,000 to £599,999 while Fiona Bruce is earning £350,000 to £399,999. What's more, while Gary Lineker is collecting a neat six figure sum, Clare Balding is earning just £150,000 to £199,999.

chris evans alex jones
Chris Evans and Alex Jones ©Getty

Aside from gender imbalances, the report has also highlighted a disparity between what white stars and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background (BAME) are paid: Trevor Nelson, George Alagiah and Jason Mohammad are the highest paid BAME stars, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000 only. Director general Tony Hall acknowledged that there was 'more to do' on gender and diversity.

‘At the moment, of the talent earning over £150,000, two thirds are men and one third are women,’ Hall said. ‘We’ve set a clear target for 2020: we want all our lead and presenting roles to be equally divided between men and women.

‘Meeting our goal on this is going to have a profound impact not just on the BBC, but the whole media industry. It’s going to change the market for talent in this country.’

The list features radio presenters, TV presenters, actors, journalists and panellists, and despite the BBC fighting against its publication, the government ruled it must become public interest as part of its 11-year royal charter.

See the full top 10 list below

    = 8. Claudia Winkleman £450,000 - £499,999

    = 8. Matt Baker £450,000 - £499,999

    = 9. Nicky Campbell £400,000 - £449,999

    = 9. Andrew Marr £400,000 - £449,999

    = 9. Stephen Nolan £400,000 - £449,999

    = 9. Alan Shearer £400,000 - £449,999

    = 9. Alex Jones £400,000 - £449,000

      READ MORE: Government Launches New Gender Pay Gap Initiative

      READ MORE: We Will Have To Wait 24 Years For The Gender Pay Gap To Close

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