No Gender Pay Gap for Doctor Who: Whittaker Will Be Paid the Same as Capaldi

BBC Director-General, Tony Hall has reassured fans that incoming Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker will be paid the same amount as outgoing Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi has received for 2016/17.

Hall said there would be a “parity” between the two, addressing concerns over the wage gap between female and male earners at the BBC; there’s a massive difference between what the highest-paid man (Chris Evans – and no, not the guy who plays Captain America) and the highest-paid woman (Claudia Winkleman) take home from their jobs presenting BBC TV and radio shows.

Now, we’re not reporting the exact figures here because it’s not necessary: while it’s of huge importance to know that Capaldi and Whittaker will take home the same amount of money for the same amount of work, we don’t need to know precise figures. This is simply a way of the Government to pour scorn on the BBC, and the DWC will not encourage such behaviour. We should always criticise the corporation, in order to help it improve, but we also need to defend it, as a national treasure. It should be a source of pride, not something to be dragged over the coals by the Daily Mail (a newspaper that’s given the BBC hell… despite the Mail also employing Chris Evans).

You might think it’s fair enough to reveal wages, as the BBC is paid for by the public, via a license fee. However, it would only be fair if other broadcasters were to reveal what they pay their higher-earners: you might not think you pay for ITV and co., but have you noticed the cost difference between branded and unbranded items? A significant part of that pricing gap is used to advertise on commercial channels.

This is an industry like any other: yes, comparing what Jeremy Vine earns to that of a nurse, or a firefighter, or a police officer will obviously make Vine’s pay look abysmal, but the line is drawn by competing broadcasters – if the BBC weren’t to offer competitive wages, they would lose all their top talent again and again and again.

We’d also like to point out that the license fee does benefit the other broadcasters, as the BBC invest in the telecommunications infrastructure of the nation.

As the BBC has pointed out, 20 years ago, the license fee (which, in 2016 prices, is the equivalent of £152.82) paid for BBC1, BBC2, BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 Live, Ceefax, and BBC local and nation-wide radio stations; nowadays, the license fee (comparatively cheaper at £147.00) pays for BBC1, BBC, BBC3, BBC4, CBBC, Cbeebies, BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Live, 6, Asian Network, 1 Extra, 4 Extra, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC News, BBC Parliament, the famous BBC World Service, all of its online services, BBC Alba, iPlayer, BBC Red Button, and all BBC local and nation-wide radio stations.

You get all that for 40p a day per household. That’s just 10p more than a Freddo.

In conclusion: we’re very pleased that sense has prevailed and that Whittaker will earn the same as Capaldi – but we’re not happy that many want to pull apart the BBC for some insane political and financial gains.

  • Planet of the Deaf

    There is an argument that in a commercial environment Jodie Whittaker would be paid less than Capaldi, not because she’s a woman, but because she’s a far less famous actor. Whittaker is like Matt Smith, in that playing the Doctor will make her a household name, whereas Capaldi already was a household name. Similarly Catherine Tate was already a star before she joined the show, whereas Freema and Karen were unknowns

    Indeed I’m sure the commercial producers would think like that. Before Broadchurch David Tennant was a much bigger star than Olivia Colman, and thus more likely to attract viewers, so worth more commercially. After Broadchurch, Colman’s stock has risen significantly, so her commercial value would be the same as Tennant’s, and thus her pay would be the same for any future projects.

    • Rick714

      I agree and in fact, I’d say Whittaker should get paid less than Capaldi but say, more than Smith because she’s more accomplished with 10 years under her belt as opposed to Smith had done far less.

      I’d also say if Capaldi were replaced Judi Dench or Helen Mirren, they should earn more than what Capaldi gets. But again, that’s looking at it commercially.

  • Planet of the Deaf

    Looking at the published BBC salaries, in relative terms (as it’s still a very decent salary) the £200-£250k actually looks pretty low, for 9 months of intense work, and the fact that you are leading the show (unlike the likes of soaps or Casualty) with a shared cast.

    What would be interesting is how much top up there is from BBC Worldwide, from merchandise sales, overseas sales of the programme etc

    • ColeBox

      The figures for actors is not really across the board; the only actors that are listed are ones from BBC Productions only. Seeing as most drama is out-sourced to production companies, and they were exempt from those figures, many many actors could potentially be being paid much more than Derek Thompson or Amanda Mealing. For example, Poldark’s Aiden Turner might be getting a king’s ransom, but as it’s made by Masterpiece, they didn’t have to declare. This is why the figures were dominated by news-readers and Radio 2 disc jockeys.

  • Frank Danes

    Interesting. Tom Baker’s fee was considerably less than Pertwee’s, too, and Pertwee put about the (entirely false) anecdote that he asked for a pay rise for a sixth season, was refused it, and so left. Barry Letts, in his autobiography “Who And Me”, said the story was nonsense: had Pertwee asked for more money, Letts would have spoken to the sixth floor and things would have gone on from there. Letts never went to the powers that be as Pertwee left for other reasons: perhaps to do that most excellent show, “Whodunnit?”

    I agree with Philip completely that this whole revelation is a ruse by the government to bash the BBC. And how convenient the revelations should be at a time when the government is on the ropes and may fall – the Mail can huff and puff to distract attention from ministers fighting each other like rats in a sack.

    Good luck to Peter and to Jodie for their earnings. They work hard and make lots of people happy. I do think the best thing said about the whole debate was this letter in “The Guardian” this week, which rather puts things in perspective:

    • I have a confession to make. Despite reading the Guardian for over 40 years I cannot get excited over some rich people earning more than other rich people. I am a public sector worker earning less than £9 an hour who apparently is paid too much, so forgive my indifference to the story of wealthy people who are not paid enough. I am looking forward to next April when I can expect another 9p an hour. Well, almost 9p.
    Hugh Gemson
    Taunton, Somerset