When Radio 4 star Eddie Mair left the BBC after refusing to take a drastic cut to his £350,000 salary, his move opened the floodgates of top presenters quitting to earn even more money at commercial broadcasters.
Now, however, I hear that Mair’s had enough and will be leaving radio station LBC later this year. And, interestingly, the arrival of another BBC star is alleged to have played a part.
‘He’s leaving in late summer,’ claims one of Mair’s friends. ‘He didn’t like it at all when an hour of his show was sliced off to make way for Andrew Marr, who was suddenly the big new star from the BBC.’
Mair’s defection in 2018 after more than 30 years at the BBC caused shockwaves across the media.
I hear that Mair’s had enough and will be leaving radio station LBC later this year. And, interestingly, the arrival of another BBC star is alleged to have played a part, writes Richard Eden. Pictured: Eddie Mair in the LBC studios
The softly spoken Dundonian’s decision to leave came days after the Corporation paid a six-figure sum to former China editor Carrie Gracie over a gender pay row.
The BBC settled the claim with the journalist, who quit after finding out that she was being paid tens of thousands less than her male counterparts.
Mair, 56, was thought to be the only top-earning male star who refused to take a pay drop to tackle the BBC’s equal pay crisis.
Andrew Marr defected to LBC last month, with the BBC star declaring: ‘I am keen to get my own voice back,’ after being silenced by BBC rules on impartiality.
His arrival meant that Mair’s drivetime show was, however, cut to just two hours instead of three from Monday to Thursday, to make way for Tonight With Andrew Marr.
Other BBC stars following Mair to LBC include Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis and former North America editor Jon Sopel.
Andrew Marr (pictured above) defected to LBC last month, with the BBC star declaring: ‘I am keen to get my own voice back,’ after being silenced by BBC rules on impartiality
Marr wouldn’t be the first prominent BBC star to rub Mair up the wrong way.
Robert Peston had a frosty relationship with the former PM presenter for years. Although Peston did say he ‘eventually’ came to the conclusion that Mair’s irritation towards him was an act.
Last night, a spokesman for Mair declined to comment.
Anne Robinson reckons she’s too long in the tooth to seduce famous figures into appearing on Countdown, so she offers them free stays at her swanky Cotswolds home instead.
‘In order to get people up to Salford [where the Channel 4 quiz show’s filmed in Greater Manchester], well, I can’t offer to sleep with them any more like when I was younger, so they come to my barn for a weekend: Alastair Campbell, Stephen Fry, Jo Brand . . .’ she tells me.
Speaking at the launch party for my colleague Robert Hardman’s book, Queen Of Our Times, at Hatchards in Piccadilly, acid-tongued Anne, 77, adds: ‘It’s so we don’t have northern newsreaders in Dictionary Corner.’
Power dressing look really suits you, Lily
Lily Collins ditched her customary mini skirts and red beret in favour of a bright orange double-breasted blazer and matching trousers for an appearance on a U.S. talk show
She plays a ditzy fashion marketing executive in Netflix hit Emily In Paris, but off-screen Lily Collins means business.
The 33-year-old daughter of 1980s pop legend Phil Collins ditched her customary mini skirts and red beret in favour of a bright orange double-breasted blazer and matching trousers for an appearance on a U.S. talk show. ‘An extra boost of vitamin C this morning,’ chirps the Surrey-born actress, explaining her choice of colour.
The suit, which costs around £2,500, was designed by Gabriela Hearst, whose handbags have been carried by the likes of Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey.
Expert baker Paul Hollywood is used to his dough rising, but his fortune sank by £400,000 last year. I learn the Bake Off judge saw the combined value of his two main businesses drop from £7.9 million to £7.5 million to the end of June.
Newly filed accounts reveal that assets in HJP Media Ltd went down from £5.4 million to £4.5 million, while a surge in the balances at Paul Hollywood Ltd from £2.5 million to £3 million was not enough to offset the drop.
The star, 56, is in sole control of both of the enterprises, although his ex-wife, Alexandra, was a director of Paul Hollywood Ltd until 2020.
Why Di was tickled pink
Fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes has revealed she was forced to change an original design because of royal rules on what Diana (pictured in 1987) was permitted to wear
When Dame Zandra Rhodes created a dress for Princess Diana, she didn’t choose pink simply because it matched her own zany hairstyle.
The fashion designer has revealed she was forced to change an original design because of royal rules on what Diana was permitted to wear.
‘In 1986, Princess Diana came into my shop and chose a lovely black dress, but she wasn’t supposed to wear black then,’ she says. ‘So we redesigned it in pink.’
Diana previously revealed Charles had criticised her black dress choice on their first joint public engagement: ‘He said: ‘It’s black! Only people in mourning wear black.’ ‘
As Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa find themselves embroiled in plagiarism rows, Keith Richards has a more laissez-faire approach.
‘I’ll take anybody’s idea,’ admits the 78-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist. ‘You can call that collaboration — I call it thieving. Writing is a cut-throat business.’
Too much sun drives Laura up the pole
Laura Hamilton, 39, had a go at pole dancing while filming a new series of the C4 property show in Valencia, Spain, and it looked very dangerous
Laura Hamilton recently admitted that showing Britons round holiday homes in the Mediterranean or Florida as presenter of A Place In The Sun had left her needing cosmetic work on frown lines caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.
If she isn’t careful, she’ll end up needing treatment of another kind. Hamilton, 39, had a go at pole dancing while filming a new series of the C4 property show in Valencia, Spain, and it looked very dangerous.
‘Today is really getting a little strange,’ remarked Laura, once runner-up on Dancing On Ice.
Diane Morgan, who appears opposite Ricky Gervais in the Netflix hit After Life, says she gets invited to memorial services and birthday parties for stars she has never met.
‘I went to Ronnie Corbett’s memorial — never met the man,’ she admits of The Two Ronnies legend.
‘I was honoured. You think, ‘This is weird, isn’t it?’ There was no way you were going to stop me from going to that. I went to Barry Cryer’s 60th, 70th. Never met Barry Cryer.’
Diane Morgan (pictured last month), who appears opposite Ricky Gervais in After Life, says she gets invited to memorial services and birthday parties for stars she has never met