Jeremy Clarkson, host of Top Gear, is known for many things. He’s arguably the most polite, unoffensive person… in the world. His consideration for people, countries, and causes is renowned. No, wait – that’s wrong.
While he may be none of the things listed above, he is now known, for the second year in a row, we might add, as the highest-paid employee of the BBC. According to a post in The Guardian, Jezza raked in about $21 million last year from a few different sources.
Before our British readers get too outraged over the misuse of their license fees, it should be known that Clarkson’s presenting fee, which is paid by the BBC’s license fee, was only about one million pounds ($1.51 million at today’s rates).
So where’s the rest of the money from? Well, like most all wealthy folk, from a series of shrewd financial decisions. Clarkson, along with Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman, set up a company called Bedder 6 to leverage the global brand created by the TV show. Setup alongside the BBC, Clarkson’s 30-percent share brought him a 4.86-million-pound ($7.4 million) dividend cut last year.
In September, Clarkson sold his stake to the BBC, bringing in an additional 8.4 million pounds ($12.7 million). While the Top Gear star’s income might be rage-inducing for British citizens forced to endure an economy that is far from recovered, it should be noted that Clarkson wasn’t the only one making sound financial decisions. For the 16.2 million pounds ($24.6 million) the BBC paid for the 50 percent of Bedder 6 it didn’t already own, it’s already recouped 7.5 million pounds ($11.39 million). The BBC is also receiving 100 percent of the profits from the Top Gear name and associated properties.
There’s even some good news for car fans here. According to a BBC spokesman, “The deal also secured the future of the Top Gear brand for the BBC and BBC Worldwide.” Along with news of renewed contracts, that should mean many more years of automotive shenanigans. And on that bombshell, it’s time to end.
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Report: Jeremy Clarkson banked $21M from BBC last year