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Page 3 Profile: Alan Carr, comedian

What’s coming up on tonight’s Chatty Man?

His team of bookers have bagged interviews with struggling ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and Britain’s most photogenic physicist, Professor Brian Cox. It’s unlikely that the guests will be subjected to a Paxman-style interrogation, but then it is the comedian’s frothy chatter that has endeared him to viewers. And, seemingly, to Channel 4. Carr has signed a contract worth a reported £4m that ties him to the broadcaster until 2015. He told the Mirror: “I’m ecstatic – I love being on Channel 4 where I can be myself and let my hair down. What’s left of it.”

Is he really worth that much?

Let’s not forget that, at the peak of his powers in 2006, Jonathan Ross signed an £18m three-year deal with the BBC. But since then the chat show landscape has undergone substantial changes. Graham Norton raked in more than £4.5m in 2010/11, and it his is Friday night show on the BBC that attracts the most viewers and regularly plays host to A-list guests. Chasing him down in the ratings, despite being on a substantially less popular channel, is  Alan Carr – and that’s why he remains so valuable to Channel 4 bosses.

Bring back Michael Parkinson?

Parky, who quit in 2007, laments the state of today’s shows, saying they’re based on comedy not in-depth interviews. True enough, but there is a reason Norton, Carr and Ross don’t ask hard-hitting questions. “The managers of these stars have got so much power and if you do mention their alcoholism or their bad plastic surgery then the manager says: ‘Right you’re not having anyone else,’ so you shoot yourself in the foot,” Carr said.

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