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Sandi Toksvig reveals she is paid 60% less for hosting QI than Stephen Fry

'I temper this with the fact I love this show and am the first woman to host such a show'

Jack Shepherd
Saturday 08 September 2018 14:04 BST
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(BBC)

Sandi Toksvig has revealed she receives less than half of Stephen Fry’s fee for hosting the BBC show QI.

While presenting an economics session at the Women’s Equality party conference on Saturday, the 59-year-old was questioned about her pay.

Toksvig told an audibly shocked audience that she is paid 40 per cent of what Fry – who previously hosted QI – was paid. She receives a figure equal to Alan Davies, the show’s regular panellist.

“I took over in 2016,” she told the audience. ”I didn’t know the facts about pay transparency and I also never wanted the argument about me, because I spent my life trying to fight for the greater good. I have a nice living and I do very well, So I was much keener to focus on the women in supermarkets.

“I get 40 per cent of what Stephen used to get and I get the same pay as Alan Davies who is one of the hosts. I temper this with the fact I love this show and am the first woman to host such a show.”

Catherine Mayer, who co-founded the Women’s Equality party with Toksvig in 2015, tweeted a video of the comedian making the revelation on stage.

“People just did not know,” Mayer she told The Guardian. “Sandi has always been clear that this is not about her pay, but she had to answer the question given that the issue of equal pay is at the centre of our party’s policy.”

Toksvig said after the event: “I love QI and the brilliant team who produce it. John Lloyd and the team champion women on the show. I was asked a question at the Women’s Equality party conference that I felt I had to answer, because the issues with equal pay and the gender pay gap cut right across the media and all industries and all areas of life.

“Until now I had held back from talking about this because this is not about me. However, the lack of transparency around pay is a big part of the problem and I hope that being open, I can support women across the country whose work is undervalued.”

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Questioned about whether she would demand the same pay as Fry by Radio Times in 2016, Toksvig said: “If you are doing the same job it seems a bit absurd if you’re not paid the same.”

The current Great British Bake Off presenter later told BBC Radio 5 that she does not worry about the disparity. “I wasn’t concerned about that because it is done through an agent and I am paid by an independent production company that makes the show, and not the BBC anyway,” she said.

Before taking over QI, Toksvig was a well-known name, having already hosted various quiz shows including Radio 4’s The News Quiz and Channel 4’s 1001 Things You Should Know. She also appeared on the very first episode of Have I Got News for You in 1990.

The BBC responded by saying QI is “made by an independent production company who manage their own talent fees.”

Fry once claimed that he was paid more to headline QI than the £245,000 Jeremy Paxman received for presenting University Challenge.

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