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GRAHAM Norton (pictured) has attacked his BBC employers for handing out “sacks of cash” to departing executives.
The chat show host, who is one of the corporation’s highest-paid presenters, said the severance pay-off scandal “defies belief” and had “dragged the BBC into disrepute”.
But the 50-year-old entertainer admitted that his own £2.6 million (R42m) pay packet was “very good”, and said he would be tempted to join rival channel ITV only if it offered him a “lorry-load of cash”.
Earlier this year it emerged that the BBC had paid £369m in golden goodbyes over eight years, including £60m to senior managers.
Severance payments included £470 000 to former director-general George Entwistle after only 54 days in the job and £680 000 to former chief operating officer Caroline Thomson.
In an interview with the UK’s Radio Times, Norton said: “They are scoring way too many own goals. There’s a new triumvirate, Charlotte (Moore) is in there (as controller of BBC1), Danny (Cohen) is now head of television and you’ve got (director-general) Tony Hall, and you hope we can start again and that those sort of mistakes won’t continue to be made.
“Because it did seem extraordinary in a time of cuts where you were asking everyone who works for the BBC who’s loyal and doing a good job to tighten their belts and take a reduction in pay, while those people who’d dragged the BBC into disrepute were being handed sacks of cash. It defies belief.”
Last year it emerged that Norton had received £2.61m in “presenter fees, production fees and royalties” from his production firm So Television, an increase of 20 percent in a year.
It is thought his BBC salary accounts for at least £1.5m of that income.
As well as presenting The Graham Norton Show on BBC1 on Fridays, he hosts a Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 2.
The star said: “I can’t imagine what would make me (leave the BBC). Who’s to say? Because I don’t think I would work on ITV.”
– Daily Mail