BBC pay: Top earning news presenter John Humphrys says he 'can't explain' his £600k salary

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The BBC’s highest paid news presenter John Humphrys has said he is unable to explain his £600,000 salary, saying he “at no stage” asked the broadcaster for more money.

The Radio 4 Today presenter, who was revealed to be the corporation’s fifth highest earner, said his wage was “gradually” increased over his “many, many” years working there. 

Asked on BBC Newsnight how he could explain to the public why he earns the six-figure sum, he replied: “I’m not sure I could explain it, to be absolutely honest.”

He added: “But I suppose I would say I have been with the BBC for a very long time, as in 50 years. I’ve been with the Today programme for 30 years. 

“When I joined the BBC I was earning a couple of grand a year and gradually over the years that followed, the many, many years that followed, I earned more and more.”

Humphrys said his salary increased dramatically, but that he “didn’t ask for it.” He said he got “another bit of a lift” when he joined the Today programme 30 years ago. 

He added: “I at no stage went to the BBC and said ‘I demand more money because I’m absolutely bloody brilliant.’”

The presenter, who also hosts the BBC 2 quiz show Mastermind, began working for the corporation 50 years ago. 

Amid the gender pay gap row that emerged as the broadcaster’s rich list was announced, Humphrys said he was “not happy” about the lower salaries earned by his female colleagues Sarah Montague and Mishal Husain. 

He told Radio 4’s Media Show: “I am not happy with that…I think they all do a brilliant job. But Sarah [Montague] for instance is not on the list which seems to me to be very strange indeed

“Mishal who earns a lot less than me and so do the others who earn a lot less than me and I don’t think that is right.”

The top-paid male star Chris Evans raked in more than four times the salary of the broadcaster’s highest-earning woman Claudia Winkleman.


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