In some disappointing news, Sandi Toksvig revealed this weekend that she receives just 40% of what her male predecessor earned to host BBC panel show, QI.
Toksvig took over from Stephen Fry in 2016 – the first woman ever to assume hosting duties – and while she previously told the Radio Times it would be “absurd” for her not to receive the same fee Fry did, she wasn’t worried about it. “I wasn’t concerned about that because it is done through an agent and I am paid by an independent production company, and not the BBC, anyway,” she told BBC 5 Live in 2016.
Toksvig, who also hosts The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 alongside Noel Fielding, revealed the shocking news at Women’s Equality party conference on Saturday. The Women’s Equality party is a feminist political party first created in 2015 by Toksvig and Catherine Mayer, and the news was met with gasps from the audience.
The presenter’s 40% salary is equal to that of Alan Davies, a regular panellist who is not the show’s host.
“People just did not know,” Catherine Mayer later said to The Guardian. “Sandi has always been clear that this is not about her pay, but she had to answer the question given that the issue of equal pay is at the centre of our party’s policy.”
Toksvig later said she felt she needed to answer the question “because the issues with equal pay and the gender pay gap cut right across the media and all industries and all areas of life”.
“Until now I had held back from talking about this because this is not about me. However, the lack of transparency around pay is a big part of the problem and I hope that being open, I can support women whose work is undervalued.”
The new series of QI starts tonight on BBC Two at 10pm.