Gary Lineker takes pay cut saying ‘BBC recognise that I tweet carefully’


Gary Lineker is taking a pay cut – which makes Zoe Ball the BBC's highest-paid earner.

The Match Of The Day host has signed a new five-year contract with the broadcaster, with a 23% pay cut – from £1.75 million to around £1.35 million.

While he topped the list of star earners in the 2019/20 figures just published, his new deal means Ball, who shed a million listeners in her first year on Radio 2, now earns more if her salary is unchanged.

Lineker dismissed suggestions that he had been asked to tweet more carefully, writing on Twitter: "BBC recognise that I tweet carefully and will continue to do so."

Breakfast show DJ Ball took £1.36 million in 2019/20, not including fronting Strictly Come Dancing's It Takes Two.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said of Lineker: "We are hugely honoured to have a broadcaster of such brilliance at the BBC.

"This is a great example of giving audiences both the best talent and the best value."

But he added: "Gary knows that he has responsibilities to the BBC in terms of his use of social media."

Lineker said he "loves working with the BBC".

Just before the news about his pay cut was revealed, Lineker commented on a report that grouse shooting in a large group is still allowed amid the pandemic.

"Lovely day to mingle and murder some grouses", he wrote.

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

Davie said new rules would be across genres but "I do think the bar is higher, for current affairs and news".

On Lineker's response to any new Twitter rules for the BBC, he said, "that's a question for Gary".

Impartiality cannot be "endangered by the wrong use of social media and there are no exceptions to that," he said.

The newly published list features some pay rises and more women in the top 10.

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, and has also enjoyed a rise.

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 more than £450,000 for her work on Question Time.

Top 10 highest BBC on-air salaries 2019/20
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 more than £390,000 for his radio work, including 5 Live.

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

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

BBC gender pay gap
BBC gender pay gap

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.