Chris Evans has been revealed as the highest earner at the BBC after the corporation was forced by the Government to disclose stars’ salaries.
The Radio 2 DJ and former Top Gear presenter earned £2.2m last year, more than double Graham Norton, who picked up £850,000 to £900,000.
Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker, who was the second-highest earner at more than £1.75m, joked ahead of the announcement over a potential backlash.
He tweeted: “Happy BBC salary day. I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?”
Happy BBC salary day. I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 19, 2017
The figures reveal a huge disparity between men and woman, with 17 men earning over £300,000, compared with seven women.
Just two of the top 10 earners are women.
The highest-earning female is Claudia Winkleman, the presenter of Strictly Come Dancing, who earns between £450,000 and £500,000.
She is closely followed by The One Show’s Alex Jones, earning over £400,000.
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Image: Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans tops the list – despite quitting his Top Gear role
The third highest-paid woman is newsreader Fiona Bruce, who earns much less than male colleagues despite also fronting Antiques Roadshow.
The list of salaries are broken down into bands, rather than specific figures, but Ms Bruce earns between £350,000 and £400,000.
Image: Antiques Roadshow’s Fiona Bruce is the third highest-paid woman
By contrast, Andrew Marr, Stephen Nolan from BBC Northern Ireland, Huw Edwards, John Humphrys, Nicky Campbell, Steve Wright, and Jeremy Vine are all paid considerably more.
Vine, who presents Panorama and on Radio 2, took home between £700,000 and £750,000.
Kirsty Wark, Sophie Raworth, Victoria Derbyshire, Mishal Husain and Martha Kearney all appear to earn less than male presenters doing similar jobs and with similar experience.
Image: Graham Norton picked up just under a million last year
Long-serving sports presenter Sue Barker earned £300,000 to £350,000, while former England striker Alan Shearer collected more than £400,000 for being a pundit.
The highest-paid actor at the BBC is Derek Thompson, who plays Charlie in Casualty.
He gets between £350,000 and £400,000 – more than Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi – who is in the £200,000 to £250,000 bracket (the same as EastEnders’ actors Adam Woodyatt and Danny Dyer).
While the BBC has published senior management pay for many years, this is the first time it has done so for on-air talent.
BBC Director-General Tony Hall admitted the corporation needed to go “further and faster on issues of gender and diversity”.
He said: “We need to employ the very best… talented people are critical for our relationship with audiences.
Image: Adam Woodyatt is on par on pay with Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi
“We appreciate we are dealing with the public money. We do not take it lightly. The bill for top talent is down by 10% year on year.
“We are not afraid to walk away if money becomes an issue.
“Comparing people’s pay is not straightforward. But we need to go further and faster on issues of gender and diversity
“Two thirds of the list are men. Is it where we want to be? No. We want all our leading presenting roles to be equal between men and women.
“We want 15% of top earners to be BAME by 2020.”
Video: BBC boss warns of ‘poachers’ charter’
Damian Collins MP, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, told Sky News the gender disparity “could be a really serious issue”.
“If it becomes clear that people doing the same job with the same level of experience but being paid at very different levels, people will question why that can be the case,” said Mr Collins.
Sir Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s former director of communications and ex-BBC News executive, said the corporation could be facing “an inherent sexism issue”.
He told Sky News: “The people who decide those salaries will come up with all sorts of reasons for that, but when it’s down in black and white that becomes a profound issue.
“People are going to say that’s a problem and ask if there is an inherent sexism issue.
“I think it is right that people get to see the figures.”
Meanwhile, a former employee of the BBC has been jailed for stealing over £155,000 from the corporation, creating false invoices for work expenses.
Lee Richardson was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday after admitting to using public money on cars and family holidays.
“The length of the sentence Richardson has received reflects the high value of the fraud and the fact that the money was taken from the BBC,” said police.