It was recently revealed that only a third of the BBC’s top earners are women – and that its highest-paid male star, Chris Evans, earned a whopping £2.2 million last year, over 75% more than the highest-paid woman, Claudia Winkleman, who made £450,000.
So, after it was announced that Jodie Whittaker is set to become the first-ever female Doctor Who, everyone began making the same joke: BBC bosses hired her in order to save money.
Ah, so that's why the new Doctor Who is a woman. They don't have to pay her as much. #bbcpay— Bob. B. (@Oirisheye) July 19, 2017
However it has since been confirmed that the BBC's first female Doctor will be paid the same as her male predecessor.
The BBC’s director general, Tony Hall, has confirmed there will be a “parity” in earnings between Jodie Whittaker and Peter Capaldi (who made between £200,000 and £249,000 for his role as the Time Lord in 2016/17).
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Hall added that he was very pleased with the appointment of a female Time Lord.
“And I do think it is time for [the] 13th Time Lord to be a woman,” he said.
“I watched my first Doctor Who in the Sixties, hiding behind the sofa. As a devoted Whovian, I'm incredibly excited.”
Elsewhere, on Newsnight, the BBC’s director of radio and education James Purnell has said that bosses are actively working to close the gender pay gap across the network.
“Quite a lot of men have been taking pay cuts; John Humphreys said that today on air,” he said.
“I’m not going to start negotiating live on air, but that’s clearly one of the levers we can pull, and we have been doing that.”
Culture secretary Karen Bradley has said the publishing of the BBC’s high-earning stars list should have a “deflationary” effect on the salaries of its top male stars.
The BBC has pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020.
Images: Rex Features