The BBC has this week unveiled the salaries of its top stars in its annual report — some of which have been reduced after an outcry.
However, critics complain that the Corporation is deploying 'smoke and mirrors' tactics over the issue, with many of its stars being paid handsomely through its commercial arm. These salaries — which include Claudia Winkleman's fee for presenting Strictly Come Dancing — are still not being revealed.
Meanwhile, an investigation by the Mail shows that many of these familiar BBC faces are in the habit of topping up their already huge pay packets with yet another lucrative revenue stream by taking corporate work.
This typically involves fronting an awards ceremony, chairing a seminar or giving an after-dinner speech.
Over the past five years a small handful of BBC figures — who, remember, are paid by the public via the licence fee — have undertaken nearly 100 corporate jobs between them, netting more than £1 million in the process.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
They include pretty much the whole BBC Breakfast team including Charlie Stayt, Naga Munchetty, Louise Minchin and Dan Walker.
Andrew Marr, Emily Maitlis (pictured) and Dan Walker were all in receipt of money from corporate entities, with the register noting only if the fee was 'above £5,000' or 'below £5,000'
Fiona Bruce, the Antiques Roadshow and Question Time presenter, is also notably enthusiastic about corporates.
The BBC has introduced new arrangements that require BBC staff to get written permission from a senior figure such as a head of department before undertaking any outside public appearances. A record of the events is now published quarterly in a bid to stem the flow of 'easy money'. The first 'external events register' only covered the period from January to March, and thanks to Covid only a few stars were involved.
Andrew Marr, Emily Maitlis and Dan Walker were all in receipt of money from corporate entities, with the register noting only if the fee was 'above £5,000' or 'below £5,000'.
One agent said this week: 'Almost every TV or radio presenter does corporates and the BBC is no exception. Not only is the work a great payday for their clients, it's a fabulous payday for the agent. TV commission is normally ten per cent but the commission on a corporate is nearly always 20 to 30 per cent.'
So who has been adding the corporate shilling to their already generous taxpayer-funded salary? We look at the books.
FIONA BRUCE, 57
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Fiona Bruce (left) is ranked fifth on the BBC's rich list, earning between £405,000 and £409,999 last year
BBC pay: Newsreader and Question Time host Bruce is ranked fifth on the BBC's rich list, earning between £405,000 and £409,999 last year. However, she is paid up to as much again for hosting Antiques Roadshow, which is made by the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Studios.
Lucrative corporate appearances: She presented the Banker Awards at Claridge's in 2014, 2015 and 2018. In 2015, she also presented the AA Hospitality Awards, and was back in food with the Sodhexo Awards for catering and hospitality in 2016.
She has been a repeat performer at the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA), doing duty there in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
She also presented the School Travel Awards in 2018. In 2019, she presented the Scrip Awards (for the pharma and biotech industry). She has chaired panels at MIPIM, the international property event, in 2019, and at the Bankhall Conference — for financial advisers — in 2017.
Estimated value of corporates: On the books at JLA, she is in the A band, meaning she gets between £10,000 and £25,000 per appearance. If she got the average amount for all 13 events, this would total £227,500, minus the agent's commission.
ANDREW MARR, 61
The leading political journalist and host of The Andrew Marr show on Sundays on BBC1 has won numerous awards for his scoops and interviews, and is a best-selling author
BBC pay: The leading political journalist and host of The Andrew Marr show on Sundays on BBC1 has won numerous awards for his scoops and interviews, and is a best-selling author. According to the BBC, he is paid between £335,000 and £339,999 a year.
Lucrative corporate appearances: Marr took a fee of 'above £5,000' for hosting an event for staff and clients at the wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin via Zoom at the end of March.
He appeared on screen wearing a BBC lanyard and in a meeting room at Broadcasting House. Previous corporates include hosting the UK Warehousing Association Awards in 2018 and chairing the Forward Prizes for Poetry in 2017.
In previous years he has also handed out awards for the Solicitors Journal and been the keynote guest speaker at a pensions and benefits conference, PBUK.
Estimated value of corporates: Speakers' agencies put him in the same band as Fiona Bruce, meaning he can expect £10,000 to £25,000 per appearance.
He could have earned £87,500 extra over the past five years, less agent's fees.
Marr's agent Mary Greenham said: 'As these were private arrangements, I am not going to disclose the fees. He would not have had a fee for the Forward Prizes for Poetry.'
NAGA MUNCHETTY, 46
Naga Munchetty started on the business pages of newspapers and worked her way up via stints on Reuters and Bloomberg TV to the BBC's Working Lunch
BBC pay: Munchetty started on the business pages of newspapers and worked her way up via stints on Reuters and Bloomberg TV to the BBC's Working Lunch. She is now a regular presenter on BBC Breakfast. She has also been on Strictly Come Dancing.
In 2019 she was said to have breached the BBC's guidelines by criticising US President Donald Trump for perceived racism — complaints which were personally overturned by the then BBC director general Tony Hall. The BBC say she is paid between £255,000 and £259,999.
Lucrative corporate appearances: Munchetty was warned by the BBC last year after she appeared in promotional videos for NatWest Bank. However this is the tip of the iceberg.
In 2018 and 2017, she presented the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards. This year she presented the BIGGA golf awards, as well as the Women In IT Awards, and in 2020 the Federation of Independent Retailers Awards.
Previously, she interviewed executives at the Bunzl supplies catering conference in 2017 and presented the Independent Healthcare Awards in 2018.
In August last year, she made a promotional video for the luxury car maker Aston Martin. A BBC spokesperson said: 'Since this event, Naga has been reminded of the risk of conflict of interest in external engagements.
'We are developing a clearer direction in this area as part of our broader work on fairness and we will have more to say on this in due course.'
Estimated value of corporates: Speakers Associates say that she charges between £5,000 and £10,000 to host or moderate events, JLA has her on an A rate, which means £10,000 to £25,000 per appearance.
If one assumes pay of £10,000, then that would total £90,000 over five years, minus agent's fees.
LOUISE MINCHIN, 52
Louise Minchin started as a Radio 5 Live presenter and is now one of the regulars on BBC Breakfast, where she has worked since 2012
BBC pay: She started as a Radio 5 Live presenter and is now one of the regulars on BBC Breakfast, where she has worked since 2012. She has presented The One Show several times, too. The BBC say that her pay is between £185,000 and £189,999 a year.
Lucrative corporate appearances: She is on the BBC's register having hosted the Hull Business Awards in March this year. She presented the What Car? Car of the Year 2020, the AIM Awards in 2019, 2018 and 2015, The Conservatory & Orangery Awards in 2019, the car industry's AM Awards in 2020, the POPAI (point of purchase advertising international) awards in 2018, and the Association for Project Safety awards in 2016.
She also presented the BICSc Awards for cleaning professionals in 2016 and the Yorkshire Business Awards in 2020.
Estimated value of corporates: Louise is on the B rate at JLA of £5,000 to £10,000. Assuming an average of £7,500 per appearance, her earnings from corporates would total £82,500, minus agent's fees. A source said her earnings are 'less than half' of that amount, which could be £40,000.
DAN WALKER, 43
Dan Walker replaced Bill Turnbull on BBC Breakfast in 2016 and presents with Louise Minchin from Monday to Wednesday
BBC pay: Walker replaced Bill Turnbull on BBC Breakfast in 2016 and presents with Louise Minchin from Monday to Wednesday. He has also reported on the football World Cup and Olympics. The BBC say that he is paid between £295,000 and £299,999 a year. He is stepping down from presenting Football Focus.
Lucrative corporate appearances: He has been busy with corporate work, appearing twice on the BBC's first-ever quarterly register. He was a moderator at an event for St James's Place Wealth Management in January this year and was a moderator at a Co-Op event in March. He was paid 'over £5,000' for both.
Previously, he handed out the prizes at the England Golf Awards in 2019, the UK Roofing Awards in 2018 and the 100 Best Companies To Work For this year. He has also presented the POPAI Awards in 2017, been a part of the North West Director of the Year Awards in 2018 and the Volvo Trucks Dealer of the Year in 2018. Others have included the 59 Club Service Awards in 2020 and 2015, the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards in 2018 and the Grounds Management Association Industry Awards in 2019.
Estimated value of corporates: Around £98,000 for 12 engagements, less agent's fees. A speakers' website suggests that his rate is between £6,000 and £10,000.
LAUREN LAVERNE, 43
Lauren Laverne has been the host of Radio 4's crown jewel, Desert Island Discs, since Kirsty Young stepped down owing to illness in 2018