THE BBC was on the front of most national newspapers twice yesterday.

Most of the more right-wing media, which has an agenda against the BBC, led on stories about the extraordinary, soaraway salaries of the corporation's "top talent". It is staggering that Gary Lineker gets £1.75m for chatting about football once a week; it is really disappointing that many stars' true salaries aren't revealed because of the way they are paid.

The figures are impossible to defend at a time when 3.5m over-75s are to lose their free TV licences.

Equally, radio presenter Chris Evans has left the BBC in the last year and doubled his salary by moving to a smaller audience in the commercial sector.

The second story concerned the brave exit of England's women footballers from the World Cup. Their semi-final on Tuesday night was watched by 11.7m viewers on BBC1, making it the most watched programme of the year. The nation, which has largely ignored women's football until now, was right behind the girls. Their success will encourage youngsters to take up sport and Steph Houghton and Ellen White are now well known faces.

It is the BBC's reach that has made them. It is the BBC's licence-funded model that has enabled the country to get behind them.

Compare that to the cricket World Cup which is going on on our doorstep in which England have a team of potential world-beaters. But that is largely being played on satellite TV. It has not captured the imagination like the women's football; great players like Jonny Bairstow (100 yesterday) are not as recognisable as, say, Lucy Bronze, and the tournament will not leave a buzz among the young.

For all the knocking stories, the BBC still has an unrivalled role in enthusing the nation.