By Karin Goodwin
IT IS normally the stuff of green room gossip or furtive conversations between celebrities and their agents. However, a price guide published by one of the country’s leading booking agencies has revealed the pecking order of some of Scotland’s biggest names.
The list reveals the identities of the AA-list stars, who command more than £25,000 to grace a corporate shindig, and the E-listers, who receive less than £1,000 for an anecdote-packed after-dinner speech.
The highest earning Scot on the books of the JLA agency — which counts Buzz Aldrin, John Major and Joanna Lumley among its clients — is Lulu, who is awarded the coveted AA ranking.
The butcher’s daughter from the east end of Glasgow, who made her name at 15 with the hit single Shout, commands a minimum £25,000 fee.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum is the D-list roster comprising Jackie Bird, the Scottish newscaster, Dougie Vipond, the television presenter, and Tommy Docherty, former Scotland and Manchester United manager. According to the agency, corporate clients can expect to pay about £2,500 for celebrities in this category.
Dougie Donnelly, the sports presenter, Gavin Esler, the Newsnight presenter, Clarissa Dickson Wright, the television chef, and Michelle Mone, the underwear entrepreneur, fare slightly better. Judged C-list celebrities, they command fees of up to £5,000.
JLA’s B-list Scots, such as Lord Robertson and Kirsty Young, the Five newscaster, can make double that on the corporate circuit.
Although Fred MacAulay is considered worthy of about £10,000 for an after-dinner speech, the comedian and radio presenter is listed only as a C-grade entertainer.
A-list Scots celebrities such as Kirsty Wark, Carol Smillie, Gordon Ramsay and the former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell can earn up to £25,000 for an appearance.
“I’m not surprised that Lulu can command big fees — she is an absolute icon, a superstar,” said Roddy Martine, an Edinburgh-based social commentator. “She is also a very together person and is great fun. She now has this quite posh accent, but I was in the back of a car with her one time and she saw someone she knew. She rolled down the window and started shouting out of it in an accent that was pure Glasgow. She’s never lost herself and I think people appreciate that.”
However, Martine expressed surprise at some of the other ratings, which he said were down to a London-centric perception of celebrity: “I would have thought that Jackie Bird would make a bit more than her rating suggests.”
Jeremy Lee, founder of JLA, said the fee bands are intended only as a guide. He denied that celebrities were motivated solely by the money.
“If they did it only for money it would very soon become soul destroying,” said Lee. “There are some — I won’t mention names — who have a reputation for doing a short speech and leaving as soon as they can.
“But when you see someone like Ian Hislop or William Hague at an event, it is obvious that it is not a chore — they really enjoy meeting people.”