24/07/2017 09:28 BST | Updated 24/07/2017 11:01 BST

BBC Salaries: 'Casualty' Star Tom Chambers Defends Derek Thompson's Pay, After He Was Named Highest-Paid Actor

He's played Charlie Fairhead on the medical drama for 31 years.

Casualty’ star Tom Chambers has rushed to the defence of co-star Derek Thompson, after it was revealed he is the highest-paid actor on the BBC

The star, who has played Charlie Fairhead on the medical drama since its inception in 1986, was one of those named when the salaries of those earning over £150,000 at the corporation were made public last week

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Derek Thompson is the BBC's top earning actor

The report showed he took home between £350,000 - £399,999 last year, putting him ahead of more high-profile stars including ‘EastEnders’ actors Danny Dyer, Lacey Turner and Adam Woodyatt, as well as Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi

Tom has now claimed Derek has earned his hefty salary due to his length of service, telling The Sun: “It’s like being a footballer — you earn your credits. I’ve just done six months on ‘Casualty’, but Derek has done 31 years of service. 

“That means arriving in the dark at 6am and leaving when it’s dark at 9pm.

“It’s demanding stuff.”

He added: “Likewise, Chris Evans has been a household name for 20 years and his Radio 2 figures are outstanding.”

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Tom Chambers spoke out about his co-star's salary

The Radio 2 Breakfast Show host was revealed as the top BBC earner, taking home at least £2.2million a year. 

The publication of the documents also showed a sizeable gap in the earnings of the corporation’s best-known male and female presenters and actors. 

Many of the BBC’s female stars have since signed an open letter to director general, Tony Hall, demanding the corporation tackles its gender pay gap immediately.

The BBC has claimed it aims to address the problem, with a spokesperson saying (via the Press Association): “We have made significant changes over the last three years but need to do more. Tony Hall has pledged the BBC will go further faster.

“We are committing to closing it by 2020 - something no other organisation has committed to doing.”