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In pictures: How much do the BBC’s highest paid stars earn?

In pictures: How much do the BBC’s highest paid stars earn?

The BBC has published the salaries of its highest paid stars.

The wages of those earning more than £150,000 a year were released by the Corporation on Wednesday morning, including pay details of their most famous presenters, journalists and broadcasters.

It is the first time the BBC has published the salaries of its top-earning talent, but the move has divided the corporation and politicians.

Former Top Gear host and Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans topped the list, with an annual pay packet in excess of £2,200,000.

Gary Lineker and Sue Barker are among the highest earning BBC Sport stars, according to the list.

The rundown sparked a gender pay gap row after it emerged that two-thirds of the people on it are men, while there are a number of notable stars who didn’t make it on to the list.

Presenter Jeremy Vine – the BBC’s fourth highest earner – was put on the spot over his wages live on air, when an irate caller to his Radio 2 show asked if he thought he was ‘grossly overpaid’.

BBC presenter Andrew Marr, meanwhile, defended his £400,000-a-year salary, saying he was offered more by rival channels but turned it down.

Among the BBC’s top acting talent, Casualty star Derek Thompson is among the biggest earners, while Eastenders stars earned between £150,000 and £300,000 a year.

Conservative MP John Whittingdale, who brought in the requirement for the BBC to publish salaries when he was culture secretary, told the Today programme: ‘This is not about saying people working at the BBC shouldn’t be paying more than £150,000.

‘There are people who I think the licence fee payer will think are good value for money at that price.’

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Former BBC chairman Lord Grade said: ‘I can hear the phones ringing all over the UK today. Agents will be looking at the relative rates others are getting, clients are going be up in arms, the competition will be looking at it.

‘The net result of this is inflation. There’s only way this can go and that is that the talent salaries and wages will round upwards, they won’t go down. I guarantee you that.’

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson said: ‘The BBC is one of the world’s greatest broadcasters and we shouldn’t be surprised that its top stars – who millions of people tune in to watch and listen to every week – are well paid.’