Stephen Nolan: BBC defends 'hard-working' presenter's £410,000 pay packet

Presenter Stephen Nolan earned between £400,000 and £410,000 last year according to the BBC's annual report. Photo: Hugh Russell
Gary McDonald Business Editor

RADIO and television presenter Stephen Nolan is still in the top tier of BBC earners despite the Corporation having announced salary cuts for some of its male stars in response to criticism over the gender pay gap.

New salary figures from the BBC - which were revealed in bands of £10,000 rather than last year's £50,000 bracket after discussions with the government over transparency - revealed that Nolan (44) pocketed between £400,000 and £409,999 in the year to the end of April.

That trails the likes of Gary Lineker, Chris Evans and Graham Norton, but puts him on a par with Nick Grimshaw of Radio 1, Today presenter John Humphrys and Andrew Marr from the Andrew Marr Show.

And his eye-watering salary is still at least three times more than the second highest paid presenter at BBC NI, roughly 10 times that of the majority of his colleagues at the Beeb in Belfast, and around 20 times that of the average nurse or classroom assistant.

But the report also revealed the various presenters' workloads - and in Nolan's case it underlined his strong work ethic.

It showed that last year he presented 210 of his own hour-and-a-half morning shows on Radio Ulster, 20 editions of Nolan Live, 30 episodes of Question Time Extra Time and 120 Stephen Nolan on 5 live shows.

Nolan - who was raised on the Ballygomartin Road in north Belfast, was schooled at Springhill Primary School and Belfast Inst, and still speaks with pride of his working class roots - is currently on holiday in the US, and he made no comment on the publication of the list.

The presenter remains a director of a number of his own production companies including Inrito Ltd, Third Street Studios and Stephen Nolan Broadcasting Ltd, the latter of which reported assets of £1.4 million in its last set of published accounts.

Although the multi-Sony Award winner lives at a £1 million pad on the shores of Strangford Lough boasting a swimming pool, private jetty and boat house, and which he calls 'Fantasy Island', all his personal companies have an address at Belfast accountancy firm Flannigan Edmonds Bannon.

The BBC's annual report disclosed the salaries of on-air talent earning more than £150,000, with its top 12 earners being all male.

Last year's report sparked a gender pay gap dispute as only 34 women featured on the 96-strong list. There were also no women featured in the band of earnings above £500,000 last year.

Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker is the biggest earner, taking home between £1.75 million and £1,759,999.

He replaces Chris Evans at the top, who is shown to be earning between £1.6 million and £1,669,999 for his Radio 2 Breakfast show. That was down from £2,249,999 in the 12 months to April 2017.

Others at the top of the scale include Graham Norton, Steve Wright, Huw Edwards, Jeremy Vine, Alan Shearer, Nicky Campbell and Nick Grimshaw.

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