It's been just over a day since the BBC released its annual pay report, revealing a startling gender pay gap and lack of diversity among its highest earners. The controversy continues to dominate the news agenda, no doubt spurring the corporation's PR team into overdrive. But today does bring one slither of positive BBC-related news.
Tony Hall, the corporation's Director-General, said Jodie Whittaker, the new Doctor Who and first woman to take on the role, will receive the same salary as the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi.
According to yesterday's report, Capaldi was paid between £200,000 and £249,999 in 2016/17 for his starring role in the cult series, and Hall today said there would be "parity" between the two actors "for the same amount of work". Whittaker's agent is yet to comment on the revelation.
The Director-General told the Evening Standard he believes "it is time" for the 13th Doctor to be a woman. "I watched my first Doctor Who in the sixties, hiding behind the sofa. As a devoted Whovian, I’m incredibly excited," he said.
The BBC also revealed it had received complaints about Whittaker's appointment as the new Doctor and it was forced to defend her in a witty statement: “The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.”
However, the corporation has so far been unable to justify the pay gap between its top male and female stars. In an awkward interview with BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter Mishal Husain, who earns at least £400,000 less than her co-host John Humphrys, Hall dodged the question completely, instead focusing on the number of female presenters employed by the corporation.
“When I came back to the BBC, I said I wanted to get a balance between men and women presenting programmes like this programme… This is something I believe very, very strongly in.” He did say the BBC aims to close the gender pay gap by 2020, but failed to explain how it planned to do it. “We have to manage, as we do, within our means,” he said. What gives, BBC?