Belfast Telegraph

Casualty actress defends Ulster-born co-star Derek Thompson’s BBC salary

Casualty actress Cathy Shipton has said her co-star Derek Thompson is "worth" his BBC salary.

The Ulster-born star, who plays Charlie Fairhead in the hit medical drama, was recently named the highest paid actor at the corporation, earning between £350,000 and £399,000.

The broadcaster has since come under fire for its huge gender pay gap.

Shipton told Good Morning Britain on Friday: "I was quite low down on the list but I was on the catchment part of the list."

Asked whether she was angry about the pay disparity, she said: "Absolutely not. Derek and I started in the show thirty years ago, he has maintained... He didn't start on that figure, I'll have you know, so the show now really revolves around that character.

Nurse Duffy played by Cathy Shipton (BBC/Adrian Heap)

"Thirty years he's committed to that show, that's brought in so many actors, so many, all the crew working on the other side."

Prompted by Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, who commented 'So he's worth it?', Shipton said: "I believe, the feedback I got, was that... he's worth it and I think for 40p a day the whole BBC output is absolutely worth it."

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Casualty veterans Derek Thompson and Cathy Shipton

The BBC was forced to reveal the wages of on-air talent who earned more than £150,000 during its annual report.

It showed that Radio DJ Chris Evans was the highest earner at 2.2 million, while highest earning female Claudia Winkleman receives between £450,000-£499,000.

Director-General Tony Hall defended the salaries which are drawn from TV licence funds.

He said: "Ultimately, people should judge the BBC on the quality of the programmes and service they get for their 40p a day."

He also addressed the gender pay gap inconsistency saying: "At the moment, of the talent earning over £150,000, two thirds are men and one third are women. We've set a clear target for 2020: we want all our lead and presenting roles to be equally divided between men and women.

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