BBC presenter Graham Norton is the third highest paid star at the BBC with earning of £610,000-£614,999 for his Radio 2 show, The Graham Norton Show and hosting other programmes like Eurovision. Now he has opened up on his earnings noting it’s “odd” MPs are keen to find out what those at the BBC earn.
Speaking to Radio Times about his earnings, Graham revealed he believed if MPs could get ITV to disclose the salaries of the likes of Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, they would.
He commented: “I have to say, what would really shock the public is to discover the disparity between ITV and BBC. People would go, ‘Wow!’”
When pressed on if he’d consider himself wealthy, Graham replied: “It’s made me far more wealthy than I ever thought I’d be or planned to be.
“All the people who say, ‘He earns that, he doesn’t deserve that,’ they’re absolutely right.
“You cannot justify my wages, so I don’t try.”
He continued: “Am I still cashing the cheques? Yes, because somehow the market forces have decreed this is my value.
“I don’t discuss money. I don’t meet [BBC director-general] Tony Hall and go, ‘Actually, Tony, I’d like some more. Thanks, Tony.’”
Graham was also keen to point out the TV licence doesn’t just pay BBC stars their salary but the whole corporation.
“It’s not like I want to dob people in it, but you read that list and go, really?” Graham continued.
“Me and Gary Lineker are top of the tree? No. We all know there are people who earn a lot more than me and Gary.”
The chat show host went on to add he believes the BBC will cease to exist soon and viewers will be left wondering why they complained so much about it.
“People will look back at a golden age of the BBC and think that was an amazing thing we had and remarkably good value,” he commented.
It comes as Graham revealed his favourite star on his chat show The Graham Norton Show.
He explained Alan Sugar is his best guest because he “doesn’t care about being liked”.
Graham told The Huff Post, he was unlike many of the Hollywood stars he welcomes onto the iconic red sofa.
“I think with most people in this industry, this ‘wanting to be liked’ gene is quite strong in them, so they’ll just fake it,” he said.
“Occasionally, I’ll get a guest who doesn’t have that gene.”
He continued: “It’s so unusual it takes your breath away.
“Oh wow, you really don’t care and I quite like it, like Lord Sugar. I really like him - he’s really funny and great.”
Read the full interview with Graham Norton in this week’s Radio Times, out now.