Fast cars, pretty women, enough free food to make you obese; the life of a motoring journalist can be a glamorous one. However it isn’t often well paid – unless your name happens to begin with Jeremy and end with Clarkson. According to reports, the Top Gear presenter bagged nearly £14 million last year, making him the BBC’s best paid presenter.
Jezza made approximately £1 million of that cash as salary, funded by the taxpayer, from fronting the popular automotive show. Another £4.6 million of of his heaving cash pile was earned as a dividend from Bedder 6, the company he set up with producer Andy Wilman to rinse Top Gear’s commercial potential, flogging stuffed toys, selling mags and taking the show on the road.
A further £8.4 million was received for his 30 per cent stake in Bedder 6 when the BBC struck a deal to take full control of the company in September 2012.
“No licence fee income was used by BBC Worldwide to pay the exiting shareholders of Bedder 6 in 2012,” said a spokesman for BBC Worldwide.
“In just five years the business grew its profits five-fold (and its revenue to £149 million), which would not have been possible without the involvement of the show’s creative talent. The deal also secured the future of the Top Gear brand for the BBC and BBC Worldwide and we now benefit from 100% of its profit stream.”
It’s unlikely Clarkson will will rake in this level of cash in the future, at least not from Top Gear alone. Following the sale of Bedder 6, Jeremy and his co-presenters were placed back on more conventional BBC staff contracts.