When the salaries of the BBC’s highest paid stars were revealed for the first time last year, Graham Norton found himself near the top of the list.
The Beeb was required by the government to publish the salaries of broadcasters paid more than £150,000 as part of its new Charter.
Now the presenter has spoken out about the corporation being forced to go public with what its stars earn, labelling it “frustrating”, “inaccurate” and “pathetic”.
He told the BBC: “The salary thing… It’s so all over the shop. There are people I know who make millions from the BBC who are just not on that list. It’s just like, really?
“It’s amazing that journalists just get that list, and they must know it’s rubbish. And they publish it like it’s gospel.”
The star’s salary was revealed to be in the region of £600K, but claimed even he doesn’t know how the corporation arrived at that figure.
“Myself and my agent look at that number and we go ‘I wonder how they came up with that’,” he said.
“It bears no relation to anything I know. But if that’s what they say I earn, that’s what I earn.”
Asked if he agrees it’s in the public interest after former culture secretary Karen Bradley said it brings the BBC “in line with the civil service” on transparency, he said: “No. Because it’s micro-managing.”
He added: “The public transparency was already there. They’d already published what proportion of the licence fee is paid to on-screen talent. Now, that’s the bit that people should be interested in.
“This bit is just gossip. It’s so weird that when MPs discussed the charter, this was the demand they made. And I was like, really? You just want to know what Gary Lineker makes. That’s so pathetic.
“But anyway. The poor old BBC are having to do it, and what the BBC said would happen is happening. They are losing people, because it’s not comfortable, it’s not nice.”
Last month, the BBC’s director general said Chris Evans’ decision to quit the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show was motivated by the publication of his annual salary.
Chris, who was revealed to be the top-earning broadcaster at the BBC last year, is jumping ship to Virgin Radio after 13 years at Radio 2.
DG Tony Hall said: “Undoubtedly, disclosure has been a factor in [his] decision to leave.”