According to the newspapers, Christine Bleakley is being tempted to move from BBC to ITV by an offer of a million pound salary. For those of you unfamiliar with dreary early-evening television, Christine Bleakley is one of the hosts of The One Show, a dull BBC1 "magazine" programme. Ms. Bleakley is better known as the girlfriend of the noted association footballer Mr. Frank Lampard (otherwise known as the "Where's Wally" of the England World Cup team).
Now, when I read about this proposed transfer, I thought it was a good news story. The BBC would save her salary -- I couldn't care less if ITV want to pay her ten million pounds per year -- and could go out an find another young woman from the regions to take her place (there cannot possibly be a shortage). I was a little disappointed at the end of the story to discover it was mere speculation -- presumably put about by her agents or negotiators -- and that her salary continues to be paid by hard-pressed licence fee payers such as me. Surely it is time to introduce a salary cap at the BBC: if presenters were capped at, let's say, the same salary as the Prime Minister (they'd not starve, as they can make plenty of money writing books, being in Hello magazine, running production companies and that sort of thing) then everyone would know where they stood and there would be a splendid stability to the TV world. Young and cheap presenters would compete to work for the BBC and then once they've become established but want more cash then they can sod off to ITV, thus keeping the BBC fresh and (importantly) performing a socially useful function. Everyone's happy.
[UPDATE] I went back to check something and it turns out the story is true! Well done BBC. The search is now for an attractive young woman with -- I would guess -- a Scottish or Welsh accent and the ability to read an autocue for £100K per annum.