Top BBC stars 'will have to reveal salaries under reform plans'


Top BBC stars including Chris Evans, Gary Lineker and Graham Norton would reportedly be forced to declare how much they earn under plans outlined in the Government's White Paper on the future of the broadcaster.

The change would mean talent earning more than the £450,000 paid to the BBC's director general would have to disclose their salaries in a Government bid to improve transparency over how the licence fee is spent, The Guardian reported.

This is likely to include some of the biggest names on television, including Top Gear host Chris, Match Of The Day presenter Gary and chat show host Graham.

Gary Lineker
(John Stillwell/PA)

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is expected to announce a substantial overhaul of the way the BBC is governed when he outlines his White Paper on Thursday.

He has already said the issue of diversity will be "central" to the proposals but has denied claims he wants to prevent the BBC from screening popular shows at peak viewing times.

After being summoned by Labour to answer questions in Parliament, he said the proposals in the final document were the "result of one of the largest and most open consultations ever conducted".

The paper is also expected to address suggestions the BBC Trust be abolished and the corporation regulated entirely by media watchdog Ofcom as part of a proposed deal to grant a new royal charter to safeguard the service for another 11 years.

Graham Norton
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

However, the corporation will not be forced to sell its lucrative stake in UKTV, the portfolio of commercial channels that earns it around £80m a year, according to the Radio Times.

It had been speculated that the Government was considering forcing the BBC to sell off its 50% stake in UKTV, which owns 10 channels including Dave and Gold as well as catch-up service UKTV Play, but that is not expected to be included in the new plans.

Another area of contention between the BBC and the Government is the question of "top-slicing" the licence fee, which would see the BBC forced to hand over a portion to commercial rivals in areas such as children's television, according to The Guardian.

Professor Brian Cox has joined an already long list of famous names who have spoken out against reported proposals.

Damian Lewis has echoed his support for his Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky and co-star Mark Rylance, who launched a passionate defence of the BBC at the recent Bafta TV Awards.

"They said two different things, but they were both saying the same thing: essentially, allow it (the BBC) to flourish and let's not have too much governmental involvement," he said.

Sherlock star Andrew Scott voiced his opinion as he urged the Government to leave financial concerns out of decisions made about the broadcaster.

The actor, who played Moriarty in the hit BBC adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch, said: "I really hope the question of finance is left out as you can't make decisions about what the public should be allowed to watch based on how much money you think it's going to make for shareholders. Long live the BBC!"