Gary Lineker BBC’s top earner – but taking a pay cut

Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker - (Copyright PA Media)
12:22pm, Tue 15 Sep 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Gary Lineker was once again the BBC’s top earner, according to new figures, but he is taking a pay cut.

An announcement on Tuesday said the Match Of The Day host is reducing his salary.

The names of BBC talent earning more than £150,000 a year have been published, a move previously instigated by the Government.

Lineker took £1.75 million, according to the figures, which cover the period until the end of March this year – before any cut.

Zoe Ball - (Copyright PA Archive)

BBC Radio 2 breakfast show DJ Zoe Ball shoots up the list – on £1.36 million, making her the highest-paid woman in the top 10.

The salary does not include her presenting work for Strictly Come Dancing’s It Takes Two.

Pay packets made through BBC Studios, the broadcaster’s commercial arm and responsible for the likes of Strictly Come Dancing, Antiques Roadshow and Doctor Who, are not disclosed.

Graham Norton takes about £725,000 for his Radio 2 show and some TV work, but not his chat show.

Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright is on about £475,000.

Newsreader and election night presenter Huw Edwards is on more than £465,000.

Fiona Bruce takes home over £450,000 for her work on Question Time.

Top 10 highest BBC on-air salaries 2019/20

BBC Radio London’s Vanessa Feltz is on about £405,000.

Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne makes the top 10 for the first time, with more than £395,000.

Broadcaster Stephen Nolan is on over £390,000 for his radio work, including 5 Live.

Match Of The Day’s Alan Shearer is on the same figure.

Laverne took over from Kirsty Young on the Radio 4 programme, while Bruce followed in the footsteps of David Dimbleby.

The BBC previously opposed the publication of salaries as a “poacher’s charter”, but then-boss Lord Hall later said he welcomed the “transparency”.

Top 10 highest-paid BBC female stars 2019/20

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.

Decriminalisation of licence fee evasion could also be on the cards – but the BBC has warned that switching to a civil system would cost the broadcaster more than £200 million a year.

The BBC began means-testing the free TV licence for over-75s in August, having previously delayed its introduction because of the pandemic.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said Lineker has signed a new five-year contract with the BBC, but that he will take a 23% pay cut.

“And he has done so at a saving of nearly a quarter over his last contract,” he said.

“We are hugely honoured to have a broadcaster of such brilliance at the BBC.

“And this is a great example of giving audiences both the best talent and the best value.”

Lineker said: “I love working with the BBC, and am very proud to continue to be a part of their outstanding football team. I’m looking forward to the next five years – with a European Championship and World Cup on the horizon, it’s exciting times for me and the team.”

Following the announcement, he also tweeted: “Oh dear. Thoughts are with the haters at this difficult time.”

The BBC is clamping down on presenters’ use of social media.

Davie added: “Gary knows that he has responsibilities to the BBC in terms of his use of social media.”

Sign up to our newsletter