Graham Norton received a salary of more than £2.6 million from the BBC last year, according to details released yesterday – despite the corporation’s claims it is cutting the cost of talent.
Norton, 50, who is a Radio 2 presenter and also has a chat show on BBC1, The Graham Norton Show, saw his wages and associated royalties rise by 21 per cent year-on-year in 2012.
He belongs to a group of fourteen BBC presenters, which includes Fiona Bruce and Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, who have annual salaries upwards of £500,000.
Norton’s earnings were disclosed in accounts published this week by So Television company which the presenter and his partner sold last year for £17 million but remain directors of.
The BBC issued a statement last month declaring that its overall talent bill has hardly decreased, despite previously pledging to cut the six-figure salaries awarded to its biggest names.
So Television was bought by ITV last August with Norton and business partner Graham Stuart receiving a £10 million upfront fee.
Books published on Companies House show the business employed 24 staff last year, 16 of whom were paid a collective £1.55 million in wages and pensions.
Norton is also listed as a £524,000 creditor. The company’s overall profit nearly doubled from £890,000 in 2011 to £1.69 million last year.
The BBC has come under increasing criticism for the amount it pays its staff and talent.
A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC publishes talent pay in bands but does not comment on individuals' salaries. The BBC has saved almost £3 million on the talent pay bill over the past year, and almost £30 million since 2008."