Sunday, July 8, 2018

Big day, Wednesday

When Wednesday comes, hacks will flick first to the Annex to the BBC Annual Report that gives details of talent pay above £150k. Saturday's Times stoked the fires early, finding an anonymous presenter to say “This list is the greatest work of fiction since Harry Potter.”

It will be shorter than last year; talent contracted to the new BBC Studios won't be listed this time, despite the best efforts of Culture Select Committee chairman Damian Collins. This means the disappearance of actors on long-term contracts for drama, like Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City etc - the 2016/17 list included Laurie Brett, Letitia Dean, Tameka Empson, Guy Henry,  Linda Henry, Scott Maslen, Diane Parish, Hugh Quarshie, Jemma Redgrave, Tim Roth, Catherine Shipton, Gillian Taylforth, Lacey Turner, Peter Capaldi, Danny Dyer, Emilia Fox,  David Jason, Rosie Marcel, Adam Woodyatt,  Amanda Mealing, and top-paid Derek Thompson (Charlie Fairhead in Casualty). 

Also disappearing will be the presenters of '"TV Non-scripted" shows, like Strictly (despite the amount of scripting effort deployed), Craig Revel-Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Tess Daley. Also out of sight this year: Simon Schama, Mel Giedroyc, Danni Minogue, Gary Barlow, Nick Knowles, Tess Daly, and yes, Alan Yentob.

Then there is a predicament over the so-called multi-genre presenters. Strictly, sewing and cooking host Claudia Winkleman was declared at over £450k last year; if her Radio 2 contract is less than £150k, she should disappear from the list, but will she ? At the top end, Graham Norton was declared at £850k last year, but his tv chat deal is via his own production company So Television; are BBC Radio really paying him that much ?

Unfortunately for BBC News and BBC Radio & Education, the focus will then switch to adjustments in their deals. How much have they shaved off Huw Edwards, Jeremy Vine and John Humphrys ? Are Stephen Nolan and Andrew Marr still of similar value to the Corporation ? And what price Chris Evans minus Top Gear ?

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