A BBC boss has said the broadcaster needs to make sure its pay is not so low it cannot get “brilliant people like Chris Evans” to work there — despite the Top Gear host saying he is paid too much.
The corporation will have to publish names of stars and executives earning more than £450,000 (€571,650) as part of plans unveiled by culture secretary John Whittingdale.
It is expected that Evans, Gary Lineker, and Graham Norton would be among the top earners.
Before the White Paper was published, Evans said people with jobs like his, “compared to people in the real world, get paid too much money”, adding: “Just pay us less.”
Asked about Evans’ comments, James Purnell, director of strategy and digital at the BBC, said the corporation has cut its talent bill by 15%, adding: “It’s been independently reviewed and been given a good bill of health.
“Clearly we need to get the balance between getting the right people to work for the BBC but also paying less than the private sector.
“We pay less than the private sector already but we need to make sure that we don’t go so low that we can’t get brilliant people like Chris Evans to work for us.”
But Evans told the BBC: “It’s not exactly breaking news that people who do what I do for a living, compared to people in the real world, get paid too much money.
“We’ve got jobs that people would kill for. We get to do things that people would pay to do if they could afford it and sometimes those things aren’t even available to buy.
“Most of us work part time anyway, so just pay us less, that’s what I would do, it’s not rocket science.”
Asked if bosses would approach top earners about pay cuts following Evans’s suggestion, Mr Purnell said: “Look, I’m not Chris Evans’s line manager and I’m not going to start negotiating live in a video.
"But what I’ve said is that we’ve done something similar over the last five years of looking at talent pay overall and made sure that we’ve reduced that bill by 15%.”
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