Dame Jenni Murray finds Emma Barnett's £240,000 salary 'infuriating'

‘It p****s me off’: Dame Jenni Murray says her Woman’s Hour successor Emma Barnett’s £240,000 pay packet is ‘infuriating’ and claims BBC personalities on huge salaries ‘aren’t worth all that money’

  • Dame Jenni Murray, 71, hosted Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour between 1987 and 2020
  • Emma Barnett, 36, became the main presenter of the show in January 2021 
  • She also hosts Newsnight and The Emma Barnett Show until December 2020 
  • According to BBC list of salaries she was paid £240,000-£249,999 in 2020/21

Dame Jenni Murray has hit out at the BBC for paying their biggest stars huge salaries and admitted it ‘p****s her off’ that Emma Barnett is being paid more than her after replacing her on Woman’s Hour. 

The broadcaster, 71, is the Radio 4 show’s longest serving presenter having resigned last year and claimed it’s ‘infuriating’ to see her successor earning more money than she did.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Jenni slammed the public broadcasting service for giving high-profile presenters such high salaries, insisting that despite their talent ‘they are not worth all that money’. 

Speaking of Barnett supposedly receiving a higher salary for the show, she said: ‘Well that really p****s me off. I was talking to an old colleague the other night and she was saying how horrified she is at what’s being paid now. 

Dame Jenni Murray, 71, (pictured in October 2016) has hit out at the BBC for paying their biggest stars huge salaries

She admitted it ‘p*sses her off’ that Emma Barnett, 36, (pictured hosting Woman’s Hour) is being paid more than her after replacing her on the Radio 4 show

‘We worked so hard and had high profiles, but we didn’t earn anything like [that]. It’s more than irritating. It’s infuriating actually. I don’t think, no matter how good they are, they are worth all that money.’

Dame Jenni has said she was paid just over £100,000 for Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour while Barnett, 36, made £240,000-£249,999 in 2020/21. 

In the same period the journalist also presented Radio 5 Live’s The Emma Barnett Show and BBC Two’s Newsnight. The list does not clarify which portion of her salary was for Woman’s Hour. 

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘Emma’s salary for 2020/21 covers her 4 days a week hosting Woman’s Hour, as well as Newsnight, her former 5 Live show and other BBC work. Jenni hosted Woman’s Hour 2.5 days a week pro rata’.

She also commented on the BBC’s controversial scheme which has stripped millions of pensioners of their free licences, saying she’s ‘hacked off’ she’ll still be paying the fee in four years time. 

Dame Jenni left listeners in tears as she presented her final episode of Woman’s Hour last October (pictured last year while hosting the programme) 

Jenni, who became a regular host for the programme in 1987 and is the longest serving host in the BBC Radio 4 show’s 74 year history, announced her plans to step back from the show in July last year.  

During her 33 years on Woman’s Hour, Dame Jenni interviewed a host of famous women including Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Bette Davis, Benazir Bhutto, Dame Judi Dench, Monica Lewinsky and Joan Baez.

Born in Barnsley, Dame Jenni joined BBC Radio Bristol in 1973 and went on to report and present for BBC TV’s South Today. In 1983, she joined Newsnight before moving to Radio 4 as a presenter for the Today programme. 

Her final programme was in October 2020,  which she opened saying it was ‘very strange’ to be hosting her final Woman’s Hour, before one of her guests, MP Harriet Harman, praised her ‘tremendous legacy.’

Dame Jenni is pictured after receiving her DBE from the Queen for services to Radio Broadcasting in 2011

Many listeners were left crying over Dame Jenni’s goodbye to the show, with one commenting: ‘Just listened to Jenni Murray’s farewell Woman’s Hour – played out by Helen Reddy ‘I am Woman’. Feeling tearful, but uplifted.’ 

The episode celebrated the legacy of the programme and looked back at some of her most memorable interviews while the presenter spoke of some of her favourite moments from the programme over the years. 

She added she felt ‘much cheered’ after receiving the gift of a farewell chocolate cake from celebrity chef Mary Berry, saying: ‘It’s sitting in front of me, waiting to be shared with the team and we will wait for the end of the programme.’   

Outspoken period campaigner Emma was announced as the new host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour last October.  

The new presenter is known for her headline-making interviews and broadcasting firsts and recently hosted the Duchess of Cornwall’s first guest edit, live from Clarence House.  

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