BBC Rich List 2020


The BBC has held a privileged role in the British television, radio and online landscape over many years, dominating the media environment. While alternative media platforms provide content that the public is willing to optionally pay for, the BBC enjoys a taxpayer-funded guarantee which shields them from competitive pressure. This is because of taxpayers being forced to pay a TV licence fee, with a potential custodial sentence for non-payment, regardless of whether they use BBC services.

The BBC TV licence fee has increased again this year in April 2020 to £157.50. This note shows the pay and remuneration of the BBC’s top senior executives and ‘stars’ once again enjoying bumper pay rises. 






Key findings

  • The highest paid ‘star’ in 2019-20 was Gary Lineker, with a £1,752,500 salary. This is the same as what he received in 2018-19.

  • The highest paid executive in 2019-20 was Tony Hall, the former director general. He received a total of £471,000 in salary and taxable benefits. This includes access to a car and driver.

  • There were a total of 253 senior leaders at the BBC in 2019-20. Their pay bill came to £37.5 million, or £148,221 on average.

  • Zoe Ball, a Radio 2 presenter, received £1,362,500 last year and £372,500 in 2018-19. This amounted to a £990,000 pay rise, or 266 per cent. This is in spite of her show losing one million listeners.

  • In 2019-20, Fiona Bruce received £452,500 for 40 episodes of Question Time and 50 presentation days on BBC One. This compares to a salary of £257,500 the previous year and 100 presentation days for BBC One and 10 episodes of Question Time.

  • Piers Wenger (controller, drama commissioning) was the second highest paid senior staff member not on the executive committee. He was paid £272,500. He claimed £130 on a night at a 4-star spa hotel outside Venice which has 68 different treatments. He also expensed £6,597 on a return flight to Los Angeles. The BBC has recently pledged £100 million of its TV budget to produce “diverse and inclusive content”.

  • Median earnings across the BBC were £45,500 in 2019-20. This is double median earnings in the North East of England and 83 per cent higher than median earnings across the UK (£24,897).




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