MATCH Of The Day host Gary Lineker was the BBC’s biggest earner last year, with the corporation paying him between £1.75 million and £1,759,999.

He topped a list of the broadcaster’s most handsomely paid stars, released in the BBC’s annual report, published yesterday.

Thanks in part to his walking away from Top Gear, Chris Evans, who had been the most paid in the previous year, saw his earnings slip from £2.5m to between £1.6 million and £1,669,999 for his Radio 2 Breakfast show.

Behind him was Graham Norton, on up to £609,999 a year - though this doesn’t include payments for his TV chat show, as most entertainment, factual and drama programmes are made by BBC Studios which, as a commercial entity, no longer has to declare the salaries it pays its staff because it is competing with other production companies.

That means the true extent of what auntie pay Norton, Claudia Winkelman, Mary Berry and Fiona Bruce, who also make shows for BBC Studios, is not known.

It also means the rest of the top ten earners - Steve Wright, Huw Edwards, Jeremy Vine, Alan Shearer, Nicky Campbell, Nick Grimshaw and Stephen Nolan, are all white men.

Last year’s report, where the salaries were published for the first time, saw BBC staff able to see what their colleagues were paid.

That led to a crisis as women working for the BBC realised they were severely underpaid compared to their male colleagues.

China editor Carrie Gracie resigned, when she discovered she was on 50% less than North Amercian editor Jon Sopel. Last month the BBC apologised to Grace, and backpaid her accordingly.

Women who are on the list of stars earning more than £150,000 this year and appear to have received pay rises include Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis.

Maitlis took home between £220,000 and £229,999. Woman’s Hour host Jane Garvey, who has been outspoken in her criticism of the gender pay gap, is another new name and was paid between £150,000 and £159,000 for work which also includes programmes on 5 Live and episodes of Fortunately.

Other female stars to appear this year include Newsbeat’s Tina Daheley, who was paid between £150,000 and £159,000, which also includes cover for BBC Breakfast and Victoria Derbyshire.

Scotland Editor and Sunday Politics journalist Sarah Smith was paid between £150,000 – £159,999

Diretor General Tony Hall said: “I’ve made it absolutely clear that’s not good enough and I want to get to 50/50, and that will mean changes in the range of what people are paid right across [the organisation].”

He added: “We are making progress and you must understand that. We’re trying to get a balanced range of men and women and their pay right across the organisation.

“I am concentrating on what is a huge change, which is going from 25% of women to 40% of women being in the top, over £150,000 pay... These things take time.”

Elsewhere the report revealed that the BBC spent £222.6m in Scotland, which was down from £233m in the previous year.

The reach - how many people in Scotland use the service - was down for all channels except CBeebies which saw a modest rise.