The BBC has claimed it has no idea what many of its top stars are paid, a situation that MPs have described as “extraordinary”.
A large proportion of BBC shows are made by independent production companies, which do not have to reveal salaries. And under changes introduced last year, presenters and actors working for the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Studios, can also keep pay details secret.
BBC Studios stars include Strictly Come Dancing’s Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, Alex Jones and Matt Baker of The One Show, along with the casts of EastEnders, Casualty and Doctor Who.
In a written submission to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, published on Wednesday, the BBC said: “The Government agreed that BBC Studios should be treated on a level playing field with independent production companies. In order for the BBC to compete in an increasingly global market for talent we continue to believe this is essential.
“The BBC does not have information about payments made to talent by independent production companies. When we commission a programme from an independent production company, we negotiate a price for the programme – individual contractual arrangements with talent are a matter for them.”