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17th Apr 2024

People stunned after BBC star reveals how much he earns from having his show on iPlayer

Ryan Price

Considering the show ran for much of the 90’s and had a big cultural impact, you’d expect the figure to be much more.

Charlie Higson, who co-wrote and acted in the classic BBC sketch show The Fast Show, has posted one of his royalty cheques to social media, and people can’t believe how little he gets paid.

The programme ran from 1994 to 1997, with several specials airing from the early 2000’s right up until 2020. Paul Whitehouse was also a co-creator and starred in most of the episodes.

The show changed the landscape of British comedy by poking fun at common stereotypes and exposing the ridiculous aspects of English society.

It’s freeform style and boundary-pushing material created a template for The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain, both of which came years later and catapulted Catherine Tate, David Walliams and Matt Lucas to stardom.

The Fast Show even featured a cameo appearance from Hollywood actor Johnny Depp in one episode.

All three seasons of the comedy series are available to stream on BBC iPlayer, as well as four one-off specials.

Considering Higson was both a writer and frequent performer on the programme, you’d expect him to still be getting a nice few bob from it’s regular repeats and online plays.

Well, you’d be mistaken.

The 65-year-old shared a picture of the letter he received stating how much he was going to earn from The Fast Show being streamed on iPlayer from April to December 2022.

He captioned the post by sarcastically writing: “You should make The Fast Show available on iPlayer! Nobody buys DVD’s any more. You’ll make a fortune!”

The payslip outlines the net amount Higson is set to receive from iPlayer plays, which is a measly £15.35 minus commission to be paid to his representatives and VAT.

VAT received from customs and excise brings the actor and comedian’s total earnings up to a whopping £18.84.

Maybe DVD’s would have been the way to go after all.

Fan’s reacted to the post with shock and a healthy portion of humour.

One Twitter user wrote: “I’m just learning now that it’s on iPlayer which is nice,” to which Higson replied: “You fell for my indirect marketing.”

Another asked: “What will you do with your new-found wealth?”

While Higson saw the funny side of the underwhelming payment, many were shocked that the state broadcaster could pay so poorly for such a successful show.

Higson, Whitehouse and several of the other creators of the iconic show embarked on a live UK tour earlier this year, marking it’s 30th anniversary.

Here’s hoping that venture was more lucrative than people clicking ‘play’ on iPlayer.

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