Sunday 23 July 2017

Well, everyone else has had their say, so...

Top talent

The BBC 'top talent' salary thing has provoked a right old rumpus. Everywhere I look people have been writing about it.

I haven't had the time to look into it very deeply myself, so I probably shouldn't say anything about it (and don't have much to say anyhow) - but, as this is a blog, that's not going to stop me!

So what's the scandal?

Is it the gender disparity thing?

Or is it that the salaries of men and women at the empire-building BBC are over-high, with overall pay rates 40% above commercial-sector pay for equivalent jobs?

Or maybe the real scandal is the fact that BBC salaries are funded by an over-coercive BBC licence fee - a situation which, astonishingly, found 184,595 people across the UK charged with non-payment of the TV Licence last year - 140,000 of whom were taken to court? And of those (Dame Jenni and Jane, please take note), 101,000 women were found guilty - around three-quarters of the total.

Notoriously, for many a year it's been reported that one in ten of all criminal prosecutions in magistrate courts in the UK concern alleged non-payment of the BBC licence fee. The lack of huge public outrage over that fact remains somewhat bewildering. As far of those prosecutions are concerned, there's obviously something deeply rotten in the state of the BBC.

(Maybe Panorama should investigate. Or John Sweeney on Newsnight.)


Meanwhile (h/t David Keighley at News-watch), a voice curiously missing from the debate has been that of Sir David Clementi, who seems to have become 'The Invisible Man', despite previously having defending BBC stars' high pay. And even more curiously, I can't find anyone in the media (or elsewhere) who's even given him a single thought over the past few days. And he's the BBC Chairman. Quite remarkable.

Ah, but the Evening Standard reported that someone has thought about him after all. MPs are going to grill him and Lord Hall about BBC pay. So he's going to have to say something on the subject. And, it's to be hoped, about BBC bias too. Has he 'gone native' yet?


Hmm. The BBC is advertising for a new managerial role - a Problem Manager. Seriously.


More top talent

The Sunday Telegraph's main headline today is about revolting BBC women:

An open letter calling on the corporation to tackle gender disparity in BBC pay has been signed by the following:
Katya Adler, Samira Ahmed, Anita Anand, Wendy Austin, Zeinab Badawi, Clare Balding, Sue Barker, Emma Barnett, Fiona Bruce, Rachel Burden, Annabel Croft, Martine Croxal, Victoria Derbyshire, Katie Derham, Lyse Doucet, Jane Garvey, Karin Giannone, Fi Glover, Joanna Gosling, Carrie Gracie, Orla Guerin, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Lucy Hockings, Mishal Husain, Alex Jones, Katty Kay, Martha Kearney, Kirsty Lang, Gabby Logan, Annita McVeigh, Kasia Madera, Emily Maitlis, Louise Minchin, Aasmah Mir, Sarah Montague, Sally Nugent, Elaine Paige, Carolyn Quinn, Angela Rippon, Ritula Shah, Kate Silverton, Charlotte Smith, Sarah Smith, Kirsty Wark


  1. Jane Garvey might also be again regretting highlighting the favoured choice of beverage to roll down BBC corridors in happier times?

  2. It's not long since the BBC in one of their bullish inclusivity drives said that they had a target for 50% women and 50% men working throughout the organisation. Does this mean that we can look forward to a reduction in our licence fee because of a projected reduction in their wages bill?

  3. I’ll be honest and admit that I rather enjoying listening to the BBC squirm. My immediate reaction, like many people I suspect, was that it’s not so much that they are paying the women too little, but rather that they are paying the men too much. Paddy O’Connell on “Broadcasting House” this morning was in the curious position of being sanctimonious about himself. Just to add to the confusion he even wheeled on one of those surly old stalwarts from “The Apprentice” to explain to us how the market works. If the going rate for Gary Lineker is a million pounds p.a. he assured us, that’s what he is worth. It’s all about ratings and competition you see. What he failed to mention is that the BBC is not a normal commercial institution. It’s not beholden to advertisers and nor for that matter is it strictly dependant on ratings. Yet they have created a form of celebrity culture amongst presenters, paid for by the license payers.

    1. I've rather enjoyed it too. Lots of BBC people wheeling around shouting, 'My vision is impaired! I cannot see! My vision is impaired! I cannot see!' What's not to enjoy!

      Did you see Kirsty Wark and James Purnell on Newsnight? Kirsty must have been really peeved that Evan was getting £100,000 more than her.

      The BBC loves mounting its high horse about gender disparity in other organisations (especially private businesses) and now they've been well and truly hoist on their own petard.

      All these BBC men (like Paddy and Jeremy Vine and John Humphrys) self-flagellating themselves is only adding to the entertainment.

    2. Yes, it's fun indeed. However also clear that the "gender pay gap" story is far preferable to the BBC than the "they're paid how much?!!" story. Numerous programs now focus on this.

      For me, the salaries indicate exactly what I suspected. An unaccountable, self-serving self-regarding organisation. It has too much of our money. It has forgotten what it's purpose is and why it is funded by a licence fee. Total rethink for the modern era needed. Difficult stuff. Much easier to promise to give the girls a pay rise and then carry-on as before.

    3. Every programme I'm hearing is focusing on the gender pay gap story. Mark Mardell's 'The World This Weekend' treated us to MM interviewing his Radio 4 colleague Fi Glover about it. Fi thinks it's a bad thing.

    4. Glovers "the listening project" is the worst radio ever. i hope she's on the minimum wage.


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