Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi has criticised the UK government’s decision to force the BBC to reveal the salaries of dozens of its stars.
The Scottish actor said the clause in the BBC’s new royal charter, which requires the corporation to disclose the pay of talent earning more than £150,000 a year, was part of an attempt to “dismantle” the broadcaster.
He was backed by Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat, who described the proposal as “intrusive, invasive nonsense”.
Capaldi said: “It’s people just embarking upon attacking the BBC for no particular reason other than they’d like to dismantle it because it is powered by an ethos of artistic spirit, ambition and intelligence that is no longer fashionable.”
Moffat, who claimed he was happy to reveal his own earnings, said: “How is the BBC supposed to compete with everybody else providing entertainment if they’re not allowed to pay people properly, if they’re under a ridiculous level of scrutiny? It’s not fair and it’s not reasonable and I don’t like it.
“Anyone can know what I make for a living, I don’t care. It’s silly.”
The pay packets of more than 100 of the BBC’s best-known faces - including Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker and chat show host Graham Norton - are expected to be disclosed by next summer under the new 11-year royal charter.
BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead warned the move was not in the long-term interests of viewers amid fears it will find it harder to hold on to its top stars. The BBC’s current royal charter expires at the end of 2016.
Capaldi and Moffat were speaking after appearing at New York Comic Con where they promoted the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, The Return Of Doctor Mysterio.
Capaldi, 58, said he had not decided whether to continue playing the Doctor after the new series, which airs next year.
He said: “Obviously I have to think about it at some point but I love the job so much it’s something I don’t want to think about. I keep putting it off. I’m just rolling along and enjoying it as it happens.”
Moffat said the upcoming series, which will feature the Doctor’s new companion Bill, played by Pearl Mackie, had been made as a “reintroduction” for new viewers.
“We’re making it very much a jumping on point,” he said.
“We’re always trying to recruit new viewers. We’re never resting on our laurels. We always want the new generation of kids watching. It’s very much designed as a reintroduction to the show.”
The Return Of Doctor Mysterio - which is named after the title of Doctor Who in Mexico - will air on BBC One on Christmas Day. A date for the opening episode of the new series has not yet been confirmed.
Meanwhile the creator of new Doctor Who spin-off Class said the inclusion of a gay hero in the series “shouldn’t be a big deal” in 2016.
Patrick Ness has written the BBC Three show about four students at Coal Hill Academy, the fictional London school which appeared in Doctor Who’s first episode in 1963.
The American author said the lack of gay characters in stories he read growing up inspired him to make one of the Class students, Charlie, played by Greg Austin, a homosexual.