Driving up pay: the Top Gear presenters' wealth

But does the BBC pay too much?

Updated: 
Jeremy Clarkson's house

For many people, working on Top Gear would be reward enough: the fame, the fast cars, the silly pranks.

But the show's presenters - Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May - have all become extremely wealthy thanks to the programme.

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson, unsurprisingly, is the richest of the three, believed to be worth around £30 million. He earns £1.5 million a year, and also netted a reported £13 million after selling his share in the show to the BBC in 2012.

Clarkson is the show's most controversial figure, this week prompting a formal complaint from the Argentinian ambassador over an apparently offensive car numberplate used for filming. But this hasn't stopped the BBC renewing his contract until 2018 in a deal reported to be worth £12 million.

Clarkson is famously one of the 'Chipping Norton set', with a £2 million house near the Cotswolds town (pictured above). He also has a holiday home - a converted lighthouse in the Isle of Man worth around £1.5 million.

As for his cars, the Daily Mail lists them as a Ford GT worth £190,000, a Mercedes-BenzSL55 AMG, a Ferrari F355, a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, a Jaguar XJR, a Volvo XC90 SUV, a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV and an ex-military Land Rover Defender.

Richard Hammond

Richard Hammond hasn't done too badly for himself either, with a net worth of around £15 million and pay of £500,000 per series of Top Gear. But he tops this up with books, newspaper articles and other presenting jobs.

Hammond owns an 18th-century castle in Herefordshire - along with the house next door, reportedly to prevent complaints about noise from his helicopter. He's believed to have at least ten cars, including a classic Morgan and a Porsche 911 GTS.

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Argentina Complains To BBC Over 'Top Gear' Presenter Clarkson


James May

May, too, pulls in £500,000 per series, and is believed to be worth about £10 million in total. He, too, has a few extra-curricular activities, from writing books to appearing in ads.

May owns a £300,000 Rolls-Royce and a Porsche 911, along with a Super Decathlon light plane - but claims to get most use from his Brompton folding bike.

Earlier this year, the BBC Trust was forced to start carrying out a review into the high pay of some of its presenters and performers. While the corporation's talent bill has actually fallen by 13% since 2008, concern was raised after controversy over pay-offs to outgoing managers last year.

According to last year's annual report, the BBC paid 250 performers and presenters more than £100,000, including 14 with salaries between £500,000 and £5 million.

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