Sandi Toksvig, the presenter of intellectual TV game show, QI, after taking over from former host, Stephen Fry, has spoken out to an audience, moaning that she is "only paid 40% of what Stephen was getting."
The audience, it must be noted, was at the Women's Equality party conference in Kettering in September. It oohed, aahed, booed, and gasped, whilst Toksvig shrugged, raised her eyebrows and shook her head, in order to drain every last drop of sympathy she could from them.
But one social commentator, Moys Kenwood, said:
"Whilst it's absolutely right that there should be equal salary levels between males and females - or 'females and males', if you'd prefer - we have to first ask ourselves if the female and the male in question actually are, in fact, doing the same job."
He went on to explain:
"We don't know what the salary amounts were, nor should we - they are for the people involved to know. Something we might like to consider, however, is: how funny is Sandi Toksvig compared to Stephen Fry? The BBC seem to think that she is only about 40% as funny as Stephen Fry, and I, myself, think that even this is high. If we are doing this by numbers, and we say Stephen Fry is 100, I am going to give Sandi Toksvig around 15. I think, then, in this case, the BBC are overpaying her."
It's true to say that, love him or hate him, Stephen Fry made the QI host's position his own, and only a fool would have attempted to fill his shoes when he eventually moved on. Or someone with a rather large ego, like Sandi Toksvig. Consciously or not, she models herself on QI Fry, even trotting-out pithy quotes that seem as if they had been written for him, but just don't sound right coming from her.
At someone's instigation - possibly hers, or more probably from someone who realised they were going to have to do something to save QI from dying on its feet - props, games, lights, and showbiz glitz have been introduced, and canned laughter will, no doubt, follow soon.
"There's really no case for comparison between Fry and Toksvig. Regardless of their gender, paying them the same amount for presenting QI, would be like paying for Moët et Chandon, and being served with Diet Coke."