The press are hotfoot after the BBC people to discuss the matter of their salaries, now revealed. They are saying little or nothing about their own. The example they chose is that of the Prime Minister. It is a little like comparing a train driver to a truck driver. They seem to be doing much the same thing but that is not the case.
When we were tripping up and down to London and visiting places we would often see a face and ask, who is he or she, were they in this or that programme, do you remember this once famous person? One such place was Stratford Upon Avon where family visits meant doing shopping and such like.
Some of these people had enjoyed longer careers, but for some their period of fame and therefore fortune had not lasted for long and they had to go into other trades. There was a time when once famous film faces were often to be found running boarding houses in the days before seaside resorts declined.
In short many of the people who are now among them will soon be forgotten and their agents will no longer be able to dictate the terms of their contracts. The crucial figures are those for audiences. If a face fails to pull the viewers the curtains will be drawn. For them this fame can become a liability, in that very many do not want a former star on their payrolls.
In the world of film, commercial theatre and general TV this is the norm and it is a business where you get what you can and if wise this will give an income and pension if you can hold onto it, or better chose the right financial adviser. Even then there is bad luck, divorce and financial crashes to contend with.
The root problem is that it is the BBC, a state entity, that is the employer and this is funded substantially by the license fee although there are other income streams. This means that the performers are seen as being paid out of a tax, chargeable whether or not you ever watch them.
The real question may be is it time for this ninety year old state radio, later TV and now internet service to be sold off to the highest bidder; probably foreign, or do we want to keep it as one of the few things left to us?