Gary Lineker remains at top of list of BBC’s highest paid on-air talent

Gary Lineker has topped the BBC on-air salaries list for the sixth year (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Gary Lineker has topped the BBC on-air salaries list for the sixth year (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Gary Lineker is the BBC’s highest paid on-air talent for the sixth consecutive year and the only star to earn more than £1 million in the year 2022/2023, according to the corporation’s annual report.

While there are four women in the top 10 list of highest earners, none of them has broken the £1 million threshold.

Audio and Radio Industry Awards – London
Zoe Ball is the BBC’s highest paid female presenter (Ian West/PA)

The salaries of the corporation’s top talent have been unveiled while the BBC is under pressure over allegations an unnamed presenter paid a teenager for explicit images.

The BBC has suspended a male member of staff after The Sun newspaper reported that he paid a young person around £35,000 over three years, from the age of 17, for explicit images.

Pundit Lineker was paid between £1,350,000 and £1,354,999 for work including Match Of The Day, coverage of the World Cup 2023 and Sports Personality Of The Year.

Lineker first topped the list for 2017/18 with a pay bracket of £1,750,000 to £1,759,999, and in 2020 it was announced he had taken a voluntary pay cut.

He is one of a number of BBC stars who have publicly denied they are the unnamed presenter at the centre of the scandal.

Zoe Ball continues to be the broadcaster’s second highest paid talent, and the highest paid woman with a salary of £980,000 – £984,999 for her Radio 2 breakfast show and a Radio 2 tribute to Terry Wogan.

Lineker’s Match Of The Day colleague Alan Shearer is in third place with a salary of £445,000 – £449,999, dropping from £450,000-£454,999 last year.

Manchester City v Liverpool – Emirates FA Cup – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium
Match Of The Day pundit Alan Shearer (Adam Davy/PA)

Huw Edwards is the corporation’s highest paid newsreader, with a pay bracket of £435,000 – £439,999, up from £410,000 – £414,000 last year, putting him fourth on the list.

The other women on the list are Question Time’s Fiona Bruce, with a pay bracket of £395,000 – £399,000, down £15,000 from last year; Desert Island Discs presenter Lauren Laverne, with a bracket of £390,000 – £394,999, up £10,000, and Sophie Raworth with £365,000-£369,999, up £60,000.

Radio star Stephen Nolan is the fifth highest paid person on the list, earning £400,000 – £404,999.

Ken Bruce, who left the BBC earlier this year after 31 years at the helm of the Radio 2 mid-morning weekday slot, was up £5,000, to £390,000-£394,999.

ARIAS 2023
Former Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce (Ian West/PA)

He is new to the top 10 this year along with Laverne and Raworth as Steve Wright, Vanessa Feltz and Scott Mills were pushed out of the list after leaving their respective BBC shows.

Wright is now just outside of the top 10, earning £360,000-£364,000, after stepping down from his daytime Radio 2 show last July as part of the station’s schedules shakeup.

Last year, Feltz was in the salary bracket of £400,000 – £404,999. She announced in July last year that she was leaving her shows on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio London.

Mills does not feature in the top 10 highest earners but is listed in the salary bracket of £300,000 to £304,999.

He left his BBC Radio 1 show after 24 years last August, but continues to present his afternoon slot on BBC Radio 2 which he began last November.

His salary bracket includes work on the Scott Mills And Chris Stark Show on BBC Radio 5 Live, and covering both Radio 1’s Big Weekend and the Radio 2 Jubilee Weekend.

The salaries of the top 10 highest on-air earners are notably lower on average than last year. While the majority of the high earners made more than £400,000 in 2021/22, this year a significant number earn less than £400,000.

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, said: “I am proud of the content we have delivered – the very best of the BBC – from royal programming to wonderful sporting moments and coverage of the Ukraine war. We have seen this again recently, with Eurovision, the Coronation and Glastonbury.

“It remains a period of change, financial pressures and great competition in the media market. Our task is not always easy and we have to make some difficult choices.

“But these are challenges we must embrace as we know that the BBC is needed now more than ever, in an age of polarisation and increasing disinformation.”