New BBC boss Tim Davie defends stars' pay increases amid financial constraints

Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker

"We will continue to press the BBC on how well the license fee payer is served as part of our ongoing inquiry into the role of public service broadcasting in this digital age", Knight added.

The deal means the 59-year-old former England striker will remain at the forefront of the corporation's football coverage, and will also be involved in presenting other events such as the Sports Personality of the Year show.

The BBC's new boss Tim Davie said he expects presenters to work for less because of challenges posed by coronavirus and defended the pay rises for stars like Ball.

The 49-year-old presenter - who hosts "The Radio 2 Breakfast Show" - has leapt to the top of the broadcaster's pay scale after her annual salary rose by £1 million.

Graham Norton is on at least £725,000 - a rise of around £115,000.

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Host of weekly show on Radio 2, a range of programmes and series, Bafta film and TV awards.

Newsnight's Emily Maitlis' pay is on around £370,000 - with her pay bracket rising by around £110,000.

Davie defended Ball's pay after she shed almost a million listeners in the first year in her new role, saying it was a "punchy" market.

Female broadcasters Zoe Ball, Fiona Bruce, Lauren Laverne, Emily Maitlis are all among the top-ten earners thanks to supplementing their income with additional work. It received 16.2 million requests in its first eight days - the biggest drama launch on BBC iPlayer ever. "Of course we want to get value for everyone, but there will be particular instances where we've got exceptional talent where we'll make those investments".

Gary Lineker has agreed to cut his salary by a quarter and curtail his social media use after agreeing a new five-year contract with the BBC.

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