John Humphrys has branded fellow BBC star Gary Lineker’s pay packet “outrageous”, saying all the former footballer does for the mammoth fee is “a wee bit of chatting”.
Humphrys, who recently retired as presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, gave his no-holds-barred view of how much Lineker earns for fronting Match of the Day during an appearance at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.
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 £1.75m 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.
Since then, Lineker has said 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.
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Humphrys, 76, had no qualms about criticising the BBC, 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 corporation could continue in its current form.
The journalist and presenter also said 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.