You can just imagine what the BBC bigwigs did when they were forced to publish the salaries of everyone earning more than £150,000 a year. It probably involved blushes, and a bucket of sick being handed round for each executive to contribute. Good lord! They must have said. How on earth can we justify £2.2 million for a radio disc jockey? Or £1.75 million for a jaded old soccer player who has a penchant for presenting in his knickers? There cannot have been an answer, otherwise they would have immediately reduced these eye-watering money wasters to more earthly pay buckets.
As they did for Dr Who, so for the salaries of their (ahem) on-screen talent. They completely missed the point. Known to me and you as TV presenters, and radio presenters. But nobody expected very many air jockies on the list, did they? Those with a face for radio know they will earn bugger all talking into a microphone in a dark room for years on end, some of them in the middle of the night when they know everyone is asleep. Except for the BBC Thought Police, of course.
Just as the good doctor is an alien, rendering gender irrelevant, so for the Director General. The only way he can completely miss the point every single time is simple: he is not of this planet.
And now the snowball is rolling, the pinball is being wizarded. The Wimin are coming. They have signed a letter. They have demanded a meeting, not (perish the thought!) to get their pay cranked up to male levels. Good lord! Every time Lord Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead, CBE and the BBC Director General hears such cries, his head must pop right up above his cubicle. How many times a day is clearly the subject of a bitterly contested sweepstake.
How the BBC are to crank up female pay is a mystery. The licence fee is shrinking every time and whole departments, channels and teams are being sent up north where things are cheaper or just dropped. The notion of upgrading Winkleman to Lineker levels is preposterous. Downgrading Evans and Lineker will surely force them off to ITV or Amazon, where they will cosy up with Clarkson.
There you have it. A completely predictable, avoidable mess. But to predict and avoid it, the BBC would have had to be a totally different organisation. And that is where its problems begin. Time to scrap the licence altogether and let the buggers figure it out for themselves. It hasn’t hurt Amazon or Netflix.