Jeremy Vine took voluntary pay cut after BBC gender row: ‘I was appalled’

Most recent list of top 10 highest-paid BBC stars features just three women

Jeremy Vine
Jeremy Vine

Jeremy Vine has revealed that he took a voluntary pay cut after learning that his female BBC colleagues were being far less.

The presenter, 54, said he was “appalled” upon discovering the gap between his own salary and that of his colleagues including Emily Maitlis and Claudia Winkleman, after the BBC first disclosed star salaries in 2017.

Vine was listed as earning between £700,000 and £749,000, while Winkleman earnt less than £500,000 and Maitlis, who is Vine’s election night co-host and has presented Newsnight since 2006, was on less than £150,000.

Maitlis later went “on strike” from the BBC until the pay gap was addressed, and now earns between £260,000-£264,999.

“No-one said, 'You have to take it.' I just wanted to take one,” Vine told the Mail on Sunday. “My contract was coming up. They clearly wanted me to take one. I can't remember who raised it first.”

“I should say I really was appalled at the disparity with my female colleagues, because I did not know anything about that.”

He explained that his 2016/17 earnings covered five presenting jobs, on Radio 2, Points of View, Panorama, Eggheads and the BBC's election coverage.

“That's quite a lot of work. Each of those was negotiated separately and this was the first time anyone had added them all up,” he said. “It's not like a salary. You're paid for these jobs and if you don't do them you're not paid. But to see it was a painful thing.”

The most recent list of BBC star salaries featured just three female presenters – Winkleman, Zoe Ball and Vanessa Feltz – in the top 10.

Vine’s BBC salary is now in the £290,000-£294,000 bracket, although he is doing less work than he was before for the broadcaster. He earns a separate salary from Channel 5 for his daytime talk show.

“My female colleagues have got together a very powerful WhatsApp group and they're campaigning, led by [Woman's Hour presenter] Jane Garvey and one or two others, so I'm just following that lead,” he said.

“If they were to say it's sorted, I would believe it's sorted. They haven't said that yet.”

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