Belfast Telegraph

Chris Evans is the BBC's highest paid star

Gary Lineker and Graham Norton came second and third on the list.

Chris Evans has been named the highest paid celebrity working for the BBC in the corporation's annual report.

For the first time, BBC executives have published the earnings of 96 stars who earned more than £150,000 in their annual report, which was released on Wednesday morning (19Jul17).

In the report, it was revealed its highest earning star was Chris, who used to host the revamped Top Gear and has his own breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, with around £2.2 million, followed by former footballer Gary Lineker, host of sports show Match of the Day, with between £1.7 million and £1.8 million.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Gary tweeted, "Happy BBC salary day. I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?"

The third in the list was Graham Norton, who fronts his own BBC Radio 2 show and the coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest, with earnings of £850,000 to almost £900,000.

The salary revelations, which are now required under the BBC's new Royal Charter, only includes pay for work carried out directly for the BBC, not for other production companies, so for example, Graham Norton's earnings for his popular chat show, The Graham Norton Show, is not included because it is produced by independent company, So Television.

The highest paid woman on the list was Claudia Winkleman, the co-host of Strictly Come Dancing, with earnings of more than £450,000, while her co-host Tess Daly received over £350,000. Judges Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood received more than £150,000 and Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli received upwards of £200,000.

Ahead of the release of the report, BBC director general Lord Tony Hall told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that although the sums may seem "very, very large" they are paying stars less than other channels would.

He said it highlighted the need to close the gender gap as only a third of the names on the list are women but insisted the BBC were "pushing faster than any other major broadcaster" on promoting equality.

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