New BBC loophole to hide some stars’ salaries despite pressure for transparency

Top BBC stars will escape the embarrassment of having their pay made public, as many shows are now classed as coming from an independent production company.

Stars of BBC Studios programmes like EastEnders, Casualty and Strictly Come Dancing will now disappear from the list, along with those on The One Show, Countryfile, Antiques Roadshow and Top Gear.

In total, around a third of those who appeared on the pay list in 2017 will not now appear because they work on programmes not made by an in-house BBC department, it means the talent is not paid by the licence fee directly.

The change comes after the corporation was forced to start revealing salaries in tighter bands of £10,000 instead of £50,000, after the government argued it had failed to provide enough detail.

However, many women who did not appear last time around because they failed to hit the £150,000 mark are now expected to show up, following a drive by BBC bosses to close the gender pay cap.

They are expected to include Newsnight host Emily Maitlis and The World at One’s Sarah Montague.

Last year Strictly presenter Claudia Winkleman emerged as the BBC’s highest paid woman, with a salary between £450,000 – £500,000, putting her ahead of TV sidekick Tess Daly because of her weekly Radio 2 show.

Long-term Casualty star Derek Thompson, who plays Charlie Fairhead, was the highest paid actor, on £350,000 – £400,000.

This time around the BBC has been pushed into revealing almost the exact amount stars including Huw Edwards, Fiona Bruce, Gary Lineker and Chris Evans earn and bosses will also break down the salaries by programme, so it is clear how much a person earns for each programme they work on.

Some presenters are furious over their precise earnings being revealed.

“This is the latest humiliation,” one stormed.

“The BBC has effectively launched a National Trolling Festival where we all get pummelled over our salaries.”

But not everyone agreed. Another BBC star said: “If you’re earning over £150,000 just shut up about the ‘humiliation’. Total transparency is key.”

Ahead of the BBC’s annual report being made public on Wednesday, a spokesman said: “BBC Studios is now a commercial operation not underpinned by the licence fee so, just like the independent production companies it competes for business with, it isn’t required to disclose salaries.”

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