AFTER the BBC published the salaries of its highest-paid stars as part of its annual report, the public broadcaster has faced a backlash for the “unjustified” costs that are funded through the TV licence fee.

Who’s the highest-paid star?

Although Gary Lineker’s yearly earnings may have decreased since 2020, he is still the highest paid BBC star. The Match of the Day pundit took home around £1,350,000-£1,354,999 last year, compared to a whopping £1,750,000-£1,754,999 in 2019/2020. Lineker first topped the list for 2017/18 with a pay bracket of £1,750,000 to £1,759,999, and in 2020 it was announced he had taken a voluntary pay cut.

What salary do others get?

Second up is BBC Radio 2's Breakfast show host Zoe Ball, who took a voluntary pay cut that meant her pay is now below the million-pound mark. From 2020/2021, she earned £980,000-£984,999, whereas in 2020/2021 she earned around £1,130,000-£1,134,999.

Other highly-paid stars include Question Time’s Fiona Bruce, who last year saw her pay increase to £410,000-£414,999 from £405,000-£409,999 in 2020/2021.

BBC Breakfast, Panorama and Radio 5 Live's Naga Munchetty Programme presenter Naga Munchetty saw a significant pay rise last year at £365,000-£369,999, compared to in 2020/2021, where she earned £255,000-£259,999. The BBC says this reflects the work she has done this year. As well as BBC Breakfast, the figure includes a full year of her Radio 5Live show, as well as a Panorama documentary.

Why are people criticising this?

Over the last few years, many off-air staff have lost their jobs as a result of slashed budgets. The BBC has spent £125 million in redundancy payments over the last two years as many long-serving staff took payouts as part of director-general Tim Davie’s drive to reduce the headcount by thousands. There is also criticism that because pay is mainly provided through the publicly-funded, £159 universal licence fee, it seems unjustified to pay staff millions of pounds amid a cost of living crisis and a looming recession.

What else did the report say?

According to the BBC, the report also revealed a sharp drop in the time UK adults spend watching TV every day.

Average viewing dropped from eight hours 11 minutes in 2020/21 to seven hours 12 minutes in 2021/22, although part of that fall may be explained by people watching less than they did during the height of the pandemic.

BBC iPlayer usage has increased by around 12%. The report also showed that 90% of the British population continues to use BBC services each week.