While Brits were aghast at the amount of zeros revealed today in some BBC presenter’s pay packets - especially the males - many have come to the defence of the nations’ broadcaster saying it is “worth every penny”.
The disclosure by the BBC that the top four male presenters across the BBC were collectively paid almost four times the total amount of the top four female presenters (with Chris Evans coming out top on pay of at least £2.24m) had one commenter on social media claiming it showed humanity had “gone crazy, valuing entertainment over human life”.
Former staff, however, put it in perspective, and not only backed the broadcaster but branded the decision to make it reveal staff pay “ridiculous”.
Robin Lustig, a former Radio 4 presenter, told HuffPost UK: “Of course I understand why people are curious to know how much their favourite BBC presenters earn, but it’s ridiculous to insist that the BBC release the details while other broadcasters don’t,” Lustig, who would not feature on the list were he employed by the corporation today, said.
“The only really interesting figures would be comparative salaries across channels, not forgetting that BBC presenters often work for more than one programme. And it’d certainly be interesting to know the salary of every commentator and columnist who rips into the BBC.
“It’s a real shame that again the BBC ends up as the media’s favourite whipping boy, while the truth is that it provides the most fantastic value for money.”
His comments were echoed by media analyst Claire Enders, who insisted it was “value for money”.
She told HuffPost UK: “People should look at these figures in terms of the audience share of the BBC - they don’t have to sit through ads, they get high quality, this is value for money.”
She explained that the BBC was different from other broadcasters, saying: “Comparability is key - Channel 4 does not pay the presenters in the same way as the BBC as they don’t make the same programmes. They have fewer numbers in audience for example.
“You may have to look at the sums involved in the sports presenters on Sky, Britain’s Got Talent, and that sort of programme. I can assure you, you are looking at telephone number salaries for them.
“I think the issue is very very difficult to look at, except in the Daily Mail way, because so many factors weigh in.
“The BBC and ITV are in direct competition in delivering audiences of over two million, which is something Netflix and Amazon can never do.”
Many on social media also argued that the corporation was “worth every penny”.
Author Philip Pullman also suggested that the “fuss” over the issue was thanks to the likes of the Daily Mail:
The sentiment was echoed by others...
The BBC spoke up ahead of the list’s publication, which was done at the behest of the Tories (David Cameron’s government more specifically), to defend its “incredible record of achievement”.