Mainstay BBC TV and Radio presenter Terry Wogan has hit out at the salaries of BBC personalities. The Irish host said the money paid to celebrities to work at the beeb are “far too high.”
Wogan, who became famous in the UK as one of the original voices of Radio 1 before switching to television with ATV Network productions Saturday Variety and his first chat show – Lunchtime with Wogan [pictured left], told the Mail on Sunday that some of the highest earners at the BBC could take a pay cut of up to 15%.
Terry switched to BBC One and throughout the 1980s and early 1990s his live TV chat show – Wogan – became host to many big star names, with shows even airing from America.
But the 71-year-old believes those days of high spending and lavish living are over.
“The good old days have passed… …You have to be responsible. The audience would be unhappy if they thought you were being overpaid. If they’re going to start cutting working people’s wages, you can’t say you’re in a privileged position because you work in television.
“Frankly, salaries were far too high. They could stand to take a 10 to 15% cut. If the public sector is taking that, I see no reason why everybody shouldn’t.” he told the Mail on Sunday.
Wogan, who fronts telethon BBC Children In Need every November and continues to host programming on BBC Radio 2, added that he had reduced his pay packet.
He continued, “People are worried where their hard-earned money is going, and the BBC is a visible target.”
The BBC has faced criticism for the amount it spends paying senior executives and high profile presenters. The corporation also told ATV it had funding problems in some of its core departments, such as publicity. While channel Five, MTV and FX can afford to provide all media outlets with preview DVDs and material, the BBC said they couldn’t afford to do likewise – despite higher ratings and budgets. Others have also accused the beeb of being far too commercial.
ATV TV critic Mike Watkins says: “The days when the BBC aired as the sole broadcaster in the UK are long gone. It doesn’t need to provide ‘entertainment’ anymore as its original charter suggested. Those entertainment shows are clearly rating-hunting and commercial, so maybe its time to draw a line. Anything commercial could be funded so, any ‘public service’ programming such as quality news, current affairs and children’s, should be paid by a much reduced licence fee.
“The fact their publicity department cannot afford the basics suggests either mis-management or a very poor distribution of the millions of pounds in funding the BBC takes for granted every year. We have to make money out of adverts, basically they’re saying your competitors can have it, but you can’t. I would suggest that is anti competitive and the government needs to look into how the BBC operate if this is down to money problems.”