A high price for 'a wee bit of chatting': John Humphrys brands Gary Lineker pay 'outrageous'

(Getty)

John Humphrys has branded fellow BBC star Gary Lineker's paypacket "outrageous", saying all he does for the mammoth fee is "a wee bit of chatting".

The recently retired former presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme gave his no-holds-barred view of how much ex-footballer Lineker earns for fronting Match of the Day during an appearance at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.

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Goleador del Mundial de 1986, este gran delantero inglés vistió camisetas importantes en su carrera y es por eso que llama la atención que no haya podido conquistar ni un título de liga. No pudo con Leicester (ganó uno de Segunda División), ni con Everton, Barcelona, Tottenham y Nagoya de Japón.

Presenter Gary Lineker during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 at Birmingham Genting Arena.
MotD presenter’s salary will divide opinion but falling engagement is a bigger issue. How you view Gary Lineker’s table-topping £1.75m BBC salary says a lot about you – and the future of the BBC. If you’re the BBC director general, Tony Hall, unveiling the corporation’s annual report, it is payment for the “excellent job” that Lineker does providing entertainment to millions of people. Top talent requires top money, goes the argument, and the market for sports rights means Lineker could expect something similar from commercial rivals. If you’re a member of the Conservative government, the controversy over salaries – and subsequent attempts to fix them – is the intended result of a decision in 2016 to force the BBC to publish details of employees earning more than £150,000 a year. That turned the publication of the annual report from a dull story into an annual jamboree of BBC criticism. If you’re one of the 25.4 million British households with a TV licence, you may take the view that the seven pence a year you pay towards the Match of the Day presenter’s salary is small change in the scale of things. If you’re one of the millions of over-75s who are to lose their free TV licence, which provides many with a lifeline to the outside world, you might recognise that it’s small change while still objecting as you struggle to find £154.50 a year on pain of criminal prosecution to subsidise Lineker’s wages. If you’re a prominent male BBC presenter who has been forced to take a substantial pay cut – while the Lineker-led football pundit class enjoy pay rises – you might be wondering whether there are any jobs going in the commercial sector. If you’re a prominent BBC woman, you might be wondering how the BBC is celebrating progress in the gender pay gap while also pointing that, in the words of one household name, “we were told rather dramatically of male presenters’ pay cuts last year but some of these seem to have seen pay go up instead”. And if you’re Netflix or one of the other companies looking to muscle in on the BBC’s traditional territory, you might be asking why so much fuss is being made about what is, in the world of global entertainment, a relatively trivial salary for a well-known presenter. The BBC is stuck between its dual status as a hulking beast of the UK media scene and, increasingly, a relative minnow on the global stage. At home it continues to run popular and unpopular TV stations, mass market national radio stations and worthy but niche local stations. It provides sports coverage and a dominant website, the World Service and research projects, all while having to deal with real-terms cuts in income. And yet while much of the British media industry continues to look enviously at its licence-fee funding and audience reach, the BBC is fighting to stop everyone from David Attenborough to top-tier British drama talent being tempted by Netflix’s sky-high budgets. And it has to do this while being a political punchbag, the potential future prime minister Boris Johnson last week calling it the “Brexit Bashing Corporation”. Elsewhere in the annual report are numbers that really should be worrying. The number of young adults watching BBC television in a given week has fallen from 60% to 56% in a year as audiences shift to Netflix and YouTube. The iPlayer catchup service has been hamstrung by regulation. By next year it is likely that less than half of young Britons will listen to BBC radio stations in a given week. Just 8% of 16- to 34-year-olds watch BBC Three, the youth-focused online-only channel. In truth, the real threat to the BBC’s future isn’t the annual row over how much it pays one ex-footballer to introduce Premier League highlights, it’s how will be able to secure a longterm future when younger Britons are wondering what they get in return for the licence fee.
Gary Lineker of Everton has been chosen as player of the year by his fellow footballers, with Everton manager Howard Kendall (right) with the trophy at Goodison Park as hewas unable to attend the awards as he is playing for England at a friendly against the Soviet Union.
Gary Lineker, England
Gary Lineker, Everton.
Gary Lineker in action (England) (Photo by Phil O'Brien/EMPICS via Getty Images)
9 Dec 1989: Gary Lineker of Tottenham Hotspur in action during an FA Carling Premiership match against Everton at White Hart Lane in London. Tottenham Hotspur won the match 2-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport
Gary Lineker, England. (Photo by Peter Robinson/EMPICS via Getty Images)
England's Paul Gascoigne (r) celebrates with Gary Lineker (l) after scoring the fifth goal, his first for his country (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS via Getty Images)
England v Soviet Union 1-3 1988 European Championships, Hanover Germany Group Match B. Soviet Union players celebrate scoring a goal as England's Gary Lineker looks on. 18th June 1988. (Photo by Monte Fresco/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Gary Lineker, England (Photo by Peter Robinson/EMPICS via Getty Images)
21 May 1988 Football International - England v Scotland - Scottish defender Steve Nicol jumps higher than Gary Lineker to head the ball clear. (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)
BBC Sport's Gary Lineker (left) looks incredulous as his Match of the Day colleagues Trevor Brooking (centre) and Alan Hansen (right) converse. (Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images)
8 Sep 1999: Gary Lineker plays out of a bunker during the Victor Chandler British Masters, played at the Woburn Golf and Country Club in Surrey, England. \ Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday /Allsport
England and Liverpool's Michael Owen (left) takes a crisp from a waxwork model of Gary Lineker as he signs for Walkers Crisps at Lilleshall. (Photo by David Jones - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Model Kelly Brook, who turns the tables on former England soccer star Gary Lineker by pinching one of his crisps, at the Walkers Crisps 50th Birthday bash at Alton Towers, where they were hosts for the day. (Photo by Dave Kendall - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Walkers Crisps star Gary Lineker (2nd left) is joined by soccer pundit Jimmy Hill (l), England rugby ace Will Carling and former England cricketer David Gower at the launch in London of the crisp company's new barbecue-flavoured crisps. (Photo by David Cheskin - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Former England footballer Gary Lineker, at the Heathrow Hilton, after returning from Japan to film a series of television commercials for the snackfood giant, Walkers Crisps. (Photo by Adam Butler - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Gary Linaker watches his Japanese club side in action against Parramatta Eagles on Monday evening.Nice guy finishes. . . Gary Lineker warmed up for his new job as Grampus Eight played the Parramatta Eagles on Monday. October 10, 1994. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
England's Gary Lineker can't believe it as a chance ismissed (Photo by Ross Kinnaird - PA Images via Getty Images)
The Match Of The Day host was the BBC's highest earner last year, taking home £1.75m.
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Asked by The Sun what he thought of a pay cut Lineker has volunteered to take, he said: "We don't know how much, so ask me when we know. I don't know.

"I thought that £1.75 million for doing a wee bit of chatting was outrageous."

Details of Lineker's bumper wage emerged in the summer when the BBC published the salaries of their top earners, showing that he was the highest paid star at the corporation on somewhere between £1,750,000 and £1,754,999.

(Getty)Since then, Lineker has said that he will take a pay cut after huge public criticism of the massive price he commands, particularly given that free TV licences for the over-75s are being axed.

Humphrys, 76, had no qualms about criticising the broadcaster, saying that it was increasingly difficult to justify the licence fee in the face of competition from platforms such as Netflix, and admitting that he didn't think the BBC could continue in its current form.

The journalist and presenter also said that he had never watched two of the BBC's biggest TV hits, Strictly Come Dancing which is currently airing its 17th series, and The Great British Bake Off which has now moved to Channel 4.

He said: "I've never seen either of them in my life. I have been asked not once but twice to appear on Strictly and said no both times."

In September, Humphrys retired from Today after nearly 33 years, with his final interviewees including Tony Blair, David Cameron, and Dame Edna Everage.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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