Forsyth takes a pay cut for Strictly

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The Independent Culture

Strictly Come Dancing presenter Bruce Forsyth will be taking home a slimmer pay packet for fronting the forthcoming series after taking a pay cut, he confirmed.

In an interview with the BBC's Newsnight he said: "It's a good thing to cap the salaries and I think it should have probably been done a long time ago before some salaries went out of control."

The 81-year-old told the programme that he and other stars had accepted a pay cut with "goodwill because these are very, very hard times".

Forsyth added: "I've always been paid too much money, since I started it's something I've complained about.

"We've always been overpaid but it's the demand and what's available. It's like in the theatre that old saying - you only command a high salary if you can 'put bums on seats'. So if you are in that position that does give you the status of asking for big money."

He also defended the BBC's decision to schedule the dance show at the same time as ITV's X Factor.

"I've always been disappointed that Strictly wasn't on at a prime-time. Six o'clock or 6.15 is not a prime time, people are not back from the football, mothers haven't finished the shopping so it does make a difference of one or two million viewers."

When contacted yesterday evening, Forsyth declined to discuss the story.

He said: "I'm going to Jimmy Tarbuck's 50th wedding anniversary and I'm a bit late."

Earlier this year there were reports that Forsyth had agreed a reduction of 25 per cent when he signed up for a seventh series of Strictly as the BBC tried to slash its bill for "talent".

A spokeswoman for the BBC said they do not comment on individual pay deals but added: "Our artists and presenters are at the heart of the programmes and services that BBC audiences love and value. We remain sensitive to the public's view that we should not pay more than is necessary and we are committed to even greater transparency and accountability to Licence Fee payers.

"We have already begun to reduce the amount we pay top stars and in future we will disclose the total amount we spend on talent each year while maintaining appropriate confidentiality."

The BBC has been heavily criticised for not publishing individual stars' salaries, though it has promised to make public the total amount it spends and is making efforts to cut its "talent" bill.

In June, the corporation's top talent were called to a meeting where they were told to expect their pay to be slashed.

Jeremy Clarkson and Sir Terry Wogan were said to be among about 100 famous presenters at the gathering and it was reported that for some highly-paid stars, the salary reduction could be as much as 40 per cent.