Jeremy Clarkson questions David Attenborough’s BBC salary ‘Don’t want to sneer’

Jeremy Clarkson shows off his new cow

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Jeremy Clarkson, 61, has queried why Sir David Attenborough, 95, is not featured in the list of the best paid BBC stars. The Grand Tour host says he “does not understand” why the natural historian is never listed.

He claims: “ONCE again, the salaries of most of the top BBC stars have been published, and once again it’s a list of all the usual suspects.

“Gary Lineker. Zoe Ball. Fiona Bruce and so on. 

“What I don’t understand is why Sir David Attenborough never features on this list?

“He must be by far and away the highest paid, but we never hear what he earns,” he added.

 

Jeremy continued in his The Sun column: “Could it be that we don’t want to sneer at this national treasure?

“Or has the BBC found a way of paying him so his salary doesn’t show up in public documents?” he questioned. 

The BBC’s annual report of salaries paid to its top stars was revealed last month, with the total down by 10 per cent.

Gary once again topped the list that shows how some stars have had pay increases, while others have dropped down. 

Welsh presenter Huw Edwards is fourth despite seeing his pay cut from £490,000-£494,999 in 2018/19 to £425,000-£429,999.

Some presenters, like Graham Norton and Alex Jones, are not included because their shows are produced by BBC Studios, a commercial company. 

Household favourites like Sir David, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sue Perkins do not feature despite earning more than £150,000. 

The sums published by the corporation only include pay for work carried out directly for the BBC, not independent production companies.

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 It means a large number of stars have escaped scrutiny simply because they are paid by the company that makes the programmes in which they appear. 

Although Graham Norton’s BBC remuneration is reportedly between £850,000 and £899,999 he actually receives vastly more than that. 

His published pay includes his Radio 2 radio show and Eurovision, but not his Friday night chatshow which is produced by So Television.

This includes stars in other high profile shows like EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing and Top Gear.

 

BBC director-general Tim Davie has said discussions with the broadcaster’s top on-air talent over reducing their pay packets were “mutual and constructive”.

 The corporation’s annual report for 2020/21 shows it has cut 10 per cent from its pay bill for its biggest names, after some agreed to salary cuts or quit.

Speaking during the launch of the report, Mr Davie said: “I am not going to give information on the specifics of the conversations. 

 “All I would say is I think everyone recognises the strategy, which is getting value to audiences and, without being funny, most conversations are mutual and constructive.

 “Now, clearly as a management team, we want to get more value and we are willing to make tough decisions to that extent.

“I think these conversations have all been constructive, as with Zoe Ball where she came forward and said she wanted to adjust the salary. I think everyone is absolutely with the programme on that one.”

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