How Graham Norton joined Britain’s best-paid TV elite

Presenter Graham Norton is among the best paid British broadcasters.

The BBC published the salaries of top stars yesterday as part of its annual report.

‘Match of the Day’ host Gary Lineker is officially the best paid presenter, with an annual salary of between €1,951,000 and €1,957,182.

Former radio host Chris Evans, who left the corporation in December, was second on the list, with a take-home of around €1,300,000.

And Corkman Norton came in third with a pay packet of over €680,000.

But as the corporation is only required to reveal the salaries paid directly by the licence fee, this accounts only for Norton’s Radio 2 presenting job and “a range of programmes and series”.

So the six-figure sum does not include payment for his flagship chat show – which is produced by So Television, independent of the BBC.

That company was founded by Norton in 2000, though he sold it to ITV for close to €18m in 2012.

Last year, it was reported Norton received payment of around €120,000 per episode of the chat show. With 12 episodes a season, and more than one season a year, that would drastically increase his overall annual earnings.

The presenter also has significant interests in his wine and gin lines, which sell in UK and Irish supermarkets, along with his recently published novel.

The BBC’s pay disclosure loophole means other presenters and actors who feature on major BBC programmes, such as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Top Gear’, ‘EastEnders’, and ‘Doctor Who’, do not appear, as their shows are also made by separate companies.

Norton has previously objected to the publication of BBC stars’ salaries.

“The salary thing, it’s frustrating, because it’s so inaccurate. It’s so all over the shop,” he said. “There are people I know who make millions from the BBC who are just not on that list.”

‘The Graham Norton Show’ is one of the most popular entertainment programmes, pulling in audiences of around four million, and picking up numerous awards.

Three women – Claudia Winkleman, Vanessa Feltz and Zoe Ball – joined the BBC’s list of top 10 paid stars yesterday. It is the first time since salaries were first disclosed in 2017 that women have made the top 10.

The BBC was criticised two years ago when it was forced to disclose that 75pc of its staff paid more than £150,000 a year were men.

Last year, RTÉ published its own list of the highest paid stars. Three women – Miriam O’Callaghan, Marian Finucane, and Claire Byrne – featured on the list.

Ryan Tubridy remains the highest-paid host with the national broadcaster, taking home an annual salary of €495,000.

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