Disgraced Former Top Gear Host Chris Evans Is Still The Highest Paid Presenter At The BBC

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Chris Evans, everyone’s favorite one-season Top Gear shouty man, is getting paid £2.25 million (or $2,932,447.50) by the BBC, according to a report from the British government broadcaster. But the weird thing is, even though it’s not for Top Gear, it’s at least in part because of Jeremy Clarkson.

Anthony William “Tony” Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead, Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation (yes, that’s his real name and title), implied that Clarkson’s reported £1.25 million from Amazon as the reason for Evans’ radio hosting salary, according to The Guardian (emphasis mine):

Lord Hall defended Evans’s pay during a briefing on the annual report. He said: “Chris Evans is presenting the most popular show on the most popular radio network in Europe.

“It might not be commercial radio, but we do know that for a number of presenters they have been made offers by commercial radio.

“We also know we’ve lost people, not Chris, but to Amazon and to other big players ... Also the choice for some of our talent is to go and do something completely different because they’re entertainers ... that is the market we’re dealing with. Them saying ‘we’re going to do something completely different’ or ... ‘it’s a market that is not just the UK but global’.”


This is a weird thing for Anthony William “Tony” Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead, Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation to say, considering that Clarkson wasn’t lured to Amazon from the BBC through the promise of higher pay. Clarkson went to Amazon because he was, you know, fired. The same could be said for Clarkson’s co-stars at The Grand Tour, Richard Hammond and James May. They explicitly stated that they didn’t want to leave the BBC, but had to follow their friend and co-host.

Though we are all for market-competitive pay.

The BBC’s report pointed out a whole bunch of other glaring weirdness and out-right bad shit, such as Evans (the Beeb’s highest-paid overall employee) getting paid more than £1.5 million more than the BBC’s highest paid woman, television presenter Claudia Winkleman. And “two-thirds of stars earning more than £150,000 are male, compared to one-third female,” the BBC noted.


Not to mention that the reported reason Evans’ stepped down from Top Gear was due to a sexual assault investigation, and now he’s the corporation’s highest-paid presenter.


Of course, deeply disturbed British people have found the real scandal in all of this—the fact that the salaries were ever published at all (from the Guardian):

Conservative former minister Anna Soubry said it was “a disgrace” that the BBC was required to disclose salaries and she could not defend Tory policy on the issue.

The Broxtowe MP told BBC Radio 5 Live Daily’s Adrian Chiles: “This story is a disgrace, not because of figures but the fact that it’s ever been published.

“I take objection on behalf of these people who have had their names and their salaries exposed in this completely undignified way.

“What this will do is that it will stoke up the politics of envy ... People will say, well, why is a nurse worth less than Gary Lineker or Chris Evans, and that’s a completely meaningless debate.

“So the BBC should be ashamed of themselves, they should never have agreed to this, it shouldn’t have been done.”


Actual BBC employees, on the other hand, seem to not mind the whole thing about knowing how much people get paid, and presumably never had any dignity to begin with.

(We here at Jalopnik have never had any dignity, either, and are firm believers in the politics of envy. Check out how much we get paid here.)


The report only contained the salaries of the 96 on-air presenters making more than £150,000, and none of the current Top Gear hosts even made it to the bottom of the list.

Someone start a GoFundMe for Matt LeBlanc.

UPDATE: Pull down the GoFundMes for Matt, everyone. As the Radio Times points out (and which COMTNDRVR pointed us to) LeBlanc probably makes a lot more money, but the details of his pay are a bit convoluted and may explain why he’s not on the list:

BBC Worldwide – the Corporation’s main commercial arm, which makes money from selling programmes around the world and from merchandising, and doesn’t have to declare its salary payouts – has a massive stake in the popular car show so a large chunk of the former Friends star’s pay will come from there. A similar deal is believed to be in place for other BBC global stars, including Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi who, on the list, is reported to be paid between £200k and £250k – less than Casualty star Derek Thompson – but whose pay packet may be bolstered by income from Worldwide.


Here’s hoping Rory Reid and Chris Harris are doing alright, too.