Sports presenter Gary Lineker is still the BBC's highest-earning on-air talent, despite last year agreeing to a pay reduction of around £400,000.

Zoe Ball remains the broadcaster's second highest-paid talent after requesting a pay cut when agreeing a new two-year deal as Radio 2's breakfast host.

The corporation's annual report for 2020/21 shows it has slashed 10% from its pay bill for top talent, after some of its biggest names agreed to salary cuts or quit.

It was announced last year that Match of the Day host Lineker had taken a pay cut, which has reduced his pay from £1.75 million to £1.36 million.

Zoe Ball - Second on the list Photo: Press Association

Meanwhile, Ball asked to reduce her pay by 28% to £980,000 to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This figure is lower than is listed in the 2020/21 annual report, which shows her earnings to be in the bracket of £1,130,000-£1,134,999 and which represents only a few months of Ball's new salary deal - including the reduction the presenter requested.

Graham Norton is the only person to drop out of the top 10, after being the third-highest earner in 2019/20. He left his BBC Radio 2 Saturday show for Virgin Radio in December last year, and appears on the 2020/21 list with a salary of £155,000-£159,999.

Graham Norton has dropped out of the top 10

Norton's salary from his popular TV chat show is not included because it is a production from BBC Studios - the commercial arm of the BBC.

The report also shows that:

The gender balance of the top 10 highest-paid on-air talent was the same in 2020/21 as 2019/20, with six males and four females.

The one new name in the top 10 is BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, who is listed with a salary of £375,000-£379,999.

The total number of staff with salaries above £150,000 has gone down slightly, from 76 in 2019/20 to 72 in 2020/21.

Since 2017, the BBC has been made to publish the names of those earning more than £150,000 each year, a move instigated by the British government.

But pay packets made through BBC Studios are not revealed.

Claudia Winkleman is absent from the list Photo: BBC

Claudia Winkleman, who has replaced Norton as Radio 2's Saturday host, does not feature on the list this year, with her salary from hosting Strictly Come Dancing also not included because it is also a BBC Studios production.

Huw Edwards, Fiona Bruce, Vanessa Feltz, Ken Bruce and Emily Maitlis have all seen their salaries reduced. Radio presenters Scott Mills and Greg James have seen increases.

The report says: "Covid-19 has made the on-air environment highly volatile, with delays to productions and the cancellation of live events, especially sport.

"Despite this, we have ensured a stable gender split of 56:44.

"We have demonstrated our ability to deliver improvement since initial publication, with further improvement expected in the forthcoming year as we move towards a 50:50 balance on a gender basis."

It says that "significant reductions" have been agreed with individuals who appear "towards the very top of this list".

The report covers the first six months of BBC Director-General Tim Davie's tenure.

Source: Press Association

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