So what do you make of the news that dozens of top BBC stars have been told to expect savage pay cuts of up to 40 per cent?

Jonathan Ross, Jeremy Clarkson and Graham Norton are among those facing swingeing reductions in their huge salaries as the corporation tries desperately to save money. About 100 of the corporation’s most popular performers were summoned to a meeting where BBC director-general Mark Thompson warned them that, in the current economic climate, slashing fees is inevitable.

I have to admit I have a soft spot for Wogan – but as for Wossy and co, 40% is only a start. 100% would be better!

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  1. DJ says:

    Can't help but have an awful feeling of deja vu. I'm guessing the salaries will be down, but they'll be able to claim for all manner of plasma screens, duck houses and mock Tudor beams.


  2. Grant says:

    Look forward to seeing Mark Thompson's pay cut and details of his expenses.


  3. It's all too much says:

    But, but, but

    what will happen to the talent? They will be forced to realize that "market value" is determined by demand and not ego. If you gacve me a two week training course icould read the news as well as any CBBC ****wit. Can I have £92K and a taxi to work please?


  4. JohnA says:

    As the article mentions – this is the "talent" taking cuts. No sign of cuts right across the plushy salaries of BBC management etc and their final-salary pensions – and no mention of the Today presenters or idiots like Webb and Frei.


  5. Ethan says:

    Clarkson's OK. He hates politically correct pratts and recently called Crash a fat one eyed scottish idiot. I'd give him a raise for that!


  6. d says:

    Wogans fee seems almost reasonable, he is such a likeable character. Wossy on the other gives drugged up presenters desparate for laughs a bad name.


  7. deegee says:

    I wonder how many of the BBC celebs will protest this 'insult' by quitting to join competing organisations?


  8. pmjk says:

    I understand Wogan was troughing it like a good'un whilst doing 'Children in need' (or should that be 'overpaid presenters in need pretending to do it fot charity')


  9. Martin says:

    Actually Clarkson is the only one (along with May, Hammond and the Stig) worth their money. They generate millions in worldwide sales for the BBC. Ross doesn't, Norton doesn't and so on.

    BBC presenters that generate big revenue's deserve their salaries, it's just a shame that the BBC can't be more commercially minded with their funding.


  10. David Preiser (USA) says:


    Sadly, the BBC thinks Ross actually will generate money for them. Beginning tomorrow night, his show will be broadcast on BBC America. Speaks volumes about not only the priorities and taste of the BBC, but of their opinion of me and my fellow countrymen.

    But the whole thing about cutting star salaries is at least partially BS. The production company behind Top Gear is partially owned by BBC Worldwide. This means that the BBC mother ship gets a cut of any money made on international syndication, plus magazine sales, plus DVD sales in the UK and everywhere else. If there's some superficial gesture of cutting the buffoon's pay, he'll simply make it up elsewhere in his producer cut.

    His company won't dutifully swallow that as a loss, either. They'll just up the payment from the BBC to the production company to make up the difference. No savings to your license fee, but happy cosmetic action for the BBC.

    Ross is also his own producer, and the BBC has given Worldwide a license to broadcast him here in the US. The same math will apply, if necessary. I wonder which other BBC star sitting under this papier-maché Sword of Damocles is in a similar situation?


  11. jus' askin' says:

    For heavens sake, there's even people here being taken in by this!

    It's just a publicity stunt to create the public perception that "We at the BBC are feeling the pain too"


    All the artists mentioned are under contract so the BBC is obliged to continue their payments at existing levels or lose a bunch of very expensive court cases.The BBC may want to renew their contracts when they expire & may hope for a sizeable reduction in costs but that could be a year or two away.
    Negotiations for the BBC are just like negotiations for any organisation. The outcome will be the most the BBC is willing to pay & the least the (uh-hum) talent is willing to accept. Tempered of course by what the artist could hope to earn elsewhere in the industry & what alternative talent would cost the BBC. That's it. There's no hundred percent to have a forty percent of. The preceding arrangement has no bearing on the new one.
    Of course the outcome could be that stars end up 40% worse off. But that's got nothing whatsoever to do with the BBC, that's a reflection of the prevailing state of the industry.

    ~That's most odd.
    The WV is prendre – to take
    & this post is coming from France


  12. jus'askin says:

    Whilst I was writing the above David drops in & illustrates how Byzantine BBC contracts can be. Not without reason as they're crafted to confuse. They're designed to give the impression the BBC buys its shows on an open market & gets value for money. Dig into who owns & runs production companies & it doesn't take long to realise that the principles worked for the BBC, are working for the BBC, or will be working for the BBC. Or, as David points out, are the BBC itself.
    None of this invalidates the contract process outlined above just complicates it because the star might take a lower contracted salary but still realise the same income via his participation in the production company.
    It does however shine a light on a peculiarity of the broadcasting industry. The BBC is such a massive player that it's like a giant star the rest of the industry revolves around. There's hardly anyone in the business who isn't connected to it. Many have worked for it. Many aspire to work for it. A production company can be a customer, a supplier, a partner & a competitor all at the same time. And everyone wants to make as much money as possible whilst the BBC is spewing out millions of pounds a day.
    So irrespective of what the bean-counters say about reducing costs the entire industry is structured to suck in every penny that the Corporation can prize out of the licence payer. That's why you rarely find anyone in the industry in favour of its demise


  13. David Preiser (USA) says:


    "Byzantine" is an accurate description when it comes to the money trails. Sometimes they don't even realize what they're doing or how ridiculous the situation is. Sounds familiar somehow.


  14. Gimme more! says:

    How about the pay of radio 4 people like the Humphrys attack dog? What an opinionated and sloppy broadcaster he is. Some of the time he mumbles, and his voice drops so much he becomes inaudible. So why the mega pounds?


  15. George R says:

    'Times' (12 June):

    "Hard to prove Mark Thompson's tough talk about BBC pay"


    "Everybody likes to get excited about pay and there seems little doubt that the BBC, with £3.4 billion of guaranteed income, plus a powerful position in television and a dominant one in radio, can drift into overpaying. Mark Thompson, the Director-General, seemed to be admitting as much when he served cheap wine and onion bhajis to a group of on-screen stars on Monday night and made it clear that the BBC had to make efficiencies, too. He was not vulgar enough to say by how much he wanted pay to drop, but the spinners were suggesting 25 per cent for those earning more than £100,000, possibly more, which made for a good headline. On top of that there is macho talk about how much the BBC would like somebody to resign over pay, so Mr Thompson can burnish his credentials. We shall see whether anybody is so bold, with offers from ITV and Channel 4 likely to be poor in the present climate.

    "The problem with all this talk is that it is impossible to prove. "


  16. CT says:

    The on-screen people are merely the visible tip of the BBC iceberg.

    Hidden are the vast cadres of middle and upper managers with obscure job titles and big salaries. If THEY were getting docked 25/50%/whatever then this sideshow would actually mean something.

    Aside from that, the BBC has no economic difficulty as experienced by ordinary folk. Its income, thanks to Tessa Jowell, is guaranteed to rise above inflation for some years yet and all must pay. Uniquely, its income is completely unaffected by the real-world UK economy.

    If it is short of money it is only because it has pi$$ed ours away on useless projects and unnecessary layers of management.

    Will Blue Labour undertake to sell it off? That would not only raise some cash for UK plc but also require the new owners to take an editorial line more in step with what the public thinks/wants rather than promoting leftist tripe masquerading as independent opinion.


  17. JohnA says:


    Privatising the BBC could raise a mint, assuming there was some sort of continuation of the licence fee, maybe on a tapering basis over 5 years or so.

    Investment banks in the City would jump at the job of privatisation.


  18. Anonymous says:

    I'd rather see savage pay cuts for the likes of Bowen, Guerin, Shamala, Hawley, Webb, Frei, and, on the sports side, McNulty


  19. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Shutting down or selling off the news/current affairs division ought to solve a lot of problems.


  20. flexdream says:

    The BBC is probably struggling to find ways to use up all it's current income, let alone future increases.