Fiona Bruce: I was told I didn’t need pay rise because of boyfriend’s salary

Cirque Du Soleil's Totem Premiere - London

Fiona Bruce has said that a BBC boss once suggested that she did not need a pay rise because she could rely on her boyfriend.

The new Question Time host, who has been at the BBC for 30 years, also said that the broadcaster was previously "not a nice place to be".

Bruce told British Vogue magazine that she asked for a "desultory" pay rise during her early years at the BBC.

She said: "My boss said, 'Do you really need it? What does your boyfriend do? You live with him, don't you? Doesn't he pay for most things?'"

Bruce recalled that she had replied: "Well, I do the supermarket shopping, so I need to pay for that."

She added: "How ludicrous is that?"

She did not reveal when the pay rise discussion took place, nor who it was with.

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Fiona Bruce through the years
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Fiona Bruce through the years
Fiona Bruce arriving at the BAFTA Television Awards 2005, The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. Doug Peters/allactiondigital.com
The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg and Fiona Bruce, stand outside 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Britain's Queen Elizabeth meets BBC television presenter Fiona Bruce (L) during a reception for members of the media at Buckingham Palace in London November 28, 2011. REUTERS/Gareth Fuller/POOL (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS)
Fiona Bruce attending the TRIC Awards 2019 50th Birthday Celebration held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
File photo dated 11/01/17 of BBC newsreader and Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce, who has reportedly been offered the job of hosting Question Time.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Left to right) Sir Laurie Magnus, Duncan Wilson CEO Historic England, Philip Mould, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes, Fiona Bruce and Bettany Hughes attend the Historic England Angel Awards at the Palace Theatre in London. Picture date: Monday October 31, 2016. The awards celebrate the efforts of individuals and local groups all over the country who put hours of work and enthusiasm into saving derelict and severely damaged historic landmarks. Photo credit should read: David Parry/PA Wire
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Fiona Bruce attends the Disney charity Christmas campaign launch 'From Our Family To Yours', at their store in Oxford Street, London.
BBC Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce during filming at Balmoral Castle, Scotland.
BBC's Fiona Bruce reports from Sunderland Tennis centre during the General Election count.
Journalist Fiona Bruce attends the opening night of Ronan Keating joining the cast of Once the musical
BBC presenter Fiona Bruce after receiving the Freedom of the City of London in Guildhall Yard, London.
Prime Minister David Cameron with Fiona Bruce (right), during a reception to celebrate inspirational women at 10 Downing Street, London.
EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2 BBC Newsreader Fiona Bruce after testing her driving skills in a BBC Children in Need edition of Top Gear's "Star in a reasonably priced car".
EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2 BBC Newsreader Fiona Bruce after testing her driving skills in a BBC Children in Need edition of Top Gear's "Star in a reasonably priced car".
Fiona Bruce arriving at the TV Choice Awards 2012, The Dorchester Hotel, London.
Natasha Kaplinsky and Fiona Bruce attend English National Ballet's Nutcracker Christmas Party at St Martin's Lane Hotel, London.
Fiona Bruce during the BBC Children In Need Appeal 2010, at the BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London.
Fiona Bruce and Esther Rantzen pictured at the ChildLine's Got Talent Ball, at the Savoy hotel in central London.
Fiona Bruce arriving at the Formula 1 Party 2010 in aid of Great Ormand Street Hospital at The Natural History Museum, London.
Fiona Bruce poses for photographers after being announced as winner of Rear of the Year 2010 at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
Fiona Bruce attends The English National Ballet's 'The Nutcracker' opening night perfromance at The Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY. BBC Newsreaders (left to right) Fiona Bruce and Susanna Reid, performing at the Children in Need appeal night at BBC Television Centre in west London.
Crimewatch presenter Fiona Bruce signs copies of her new book Savvy - The modern girl's guide to doing it all without risking it all, at Waterstones, Kensington High Street, central London.
Michael Aspel (left) with the Tric Special Award presented by Fiona Bruce (right) for the Antiques Roadshow during the TRIC Awards held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.
Fiona Bruce wins the Newscaster and Reporter Award at the TRIC Awards held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.
Fiona Bruce arrives at the Asian Women's Achievement Awards at the Hilton Hotel in London on May 23, 2007.
Fiona Bruce (left) and Narasha Kaplinsky during a reception for the Royal Television Society at Clarence House in London on May 22, 2007.
Fiona Bruce with her award for best TV Newscaster/Reporter, during the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) Awards, at Grosvenor House, central London, Tuesday 7 March 2006. The awards honour performers and programmes and are voted for by radio and television personnel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA
Fiona Bruce at the National Television Awards 2005 (NTA), at the Royal Albert Hall, central London.
Fiona Bruce arrives for the Women In Film and Television Awards, held at the London Hilton, Park Lane, central London.
Paul Burrell, former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales leaves his home in Farndon, Cheshire, accompanied by television journalist Fiona Bruce. Mr Burrell has been heavily criticised by members ofthe Royal Family following the release of extracts from his forthcoming book A Royal Duty.
Newsreader Fiona Bruce arriving at the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
BBC newsreader, and co-presenter of Crimewatch Fiona Bruce, arriving at BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London for the launch of the year long nationwide search for Britain's top talent.
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Bruce, 54, also said that the BBC has changed over the years.

"If the six o'clock (news) had a story they didn't want the one o'clock (news) to know about, they wouldn't put it in the running order," she told the magazine.

"It was a terrible atmosphere – dog-eat-dog, bitchy, not a nice place to be."

Bruce joined the broadcaster in 1989 as a researcher on Panorama, and over the next 14 years rose to become the first female newsreader on the BBC's flagship News At Ten.

She has also presented some of the BBC's best-loved light entertainment programmes, such as Antiques Roadshow and Fake Or Fortune? and has become one of the the corporation's best-paid stars, earning more than £350,000 a year.

In December, it was revealed she was taking over from David Dimbleby as the host of BBC One current affairs panel show Question Time, and her first episode aired in January.

See the full feature in the May issue of British Vogue, available on digital download and newsstands now.

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