QI’s Sandi Toksvig earns 40% of Stephen Fry salary

QI host Sandi Toksvig has commented that her hosting salary is less than half of what Stephen Fry used to earn for the same role.

“I have recently discovered I get 40 per cent of what Stephen used to get,” she told a Women’s Equality Party conference on the weekend. “And I get the same pay as Alan Davies, who is not the host.

“I temper this with the fact that I love the show and I’m the first woman to host such a show.”

Toksvig, who also hosts The Great British Bake Off, said she wanted to be open about the salary difference in order to combat “the lack of transparency around pay.”

“Until now I had held back from talking about this because this is not about me,” she said. “However, the lack of transparency around pay is a big part of the problem and I hope that being open, I can support women whose work is undervalued.”

But is the salary a reflection of marquee status rather than gender?

Prior to QI the radio presenter had fronted 2 short-lived TV shows. Stephen Fry’s TV career goes back to 1982, headlining shows including A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Kingdom, Absolute Power, documentaries and films such as Wilde.

Toksvig added, “I love QI and the brilliant team who produce it. [Producer] John Lloyd and the team champion women on the show.”

Source: Radio Times


  1. Fry is a national treasure who had done 13 series. Toksvig was a jobbing comedian who although a regular on screen and radio for years has only taken on high profile presenting roles in the last couple of years. Insulting to imply she should earn more than Alan Davies.

  2. Of course with entertainers it’s all about star rating. If you were paying to see QI with her chairing, would you expect to pay the same ticket price as if Fry was there instead? Of course you wouldn’t. No disrespect to her but she shouldn’t be effectively putting herself on a par with him. Actually I haven’t even seen QI since she took over – didn’t know she had!

  3. Marquee status in this case maybe, however would be a different case if Jodie Whittaker is getting paid less than say Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith to play the Doctor as they were probably less known than Jodie is when they took the role (especially Matt).

    • I think you will Peter Capaldi was very famous prior to Dr Who……with starring roles in the “The Thick of It” and “The Loop” and his Academy Award win for Best Live Action Short Film for his film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

      • True as I do remember the jokes and memes about the Doctor going all Malcolm Tucker on the Daleks abd yeah the Academy Award, so Jodie Whittaker and Peter Capaldi would be on par.

        To which I found that yes Jodie Whittaker is getting paid the same:

        “Incoming Time Lord Jodie Whittaker will receive the same pay as predecessor Peter Capaldi, the BBC has confirmed. Speaking to the Evening Standard, BBC Director-General Tony Hall said there would be parity between the two Who leads. This means the former Broadchurch actor would earn at least between £200,000 and £249,999, the salary that Capaldi was paid for the show.”

  4. David, I think your understating Sandi a little. She was a regular panelist on Call My Bluff for 8 years and has shown with The News Quiz on radio that she can be a terrific host.

  5. It’s got nothing to do with being female. It’s to do with fame status. Stephen is a more well known name for decades. If they hired a guy to host it who’s only previous experience was a short lived stint on Coronation Street, he’d get less than Stephen too.
    Similar to The Crown. I’d never heard of Claire Foy before that show, but I know Matt Smith from his successful run on the globally popular series Doctor Who.

  6. Salary based on experience and star draw.

    If she was a household name like Stephen, then she’d be able to command more.

    Bloody love her on QI and Bake though sonif she’s making a point about money to stay on the shows…give her more 🙂

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