The television chef Jamie Oliver is about to sign an exclusive deal worth an estimated £1m to make programmes for Channel 4 .

BBC2 announced last month that it was dropping Oliver because of a pay row and a conflict of interest over his £2m contract to appear in advertisements for the Sainsbury's supermarket chain. The BBC said it could not agree a fourth series of The Naked Chef, which draws four million viewers in Britain and has been shown in 34 countries.

Channel 4 secured Oliver's services after a fierce bidding war with Channel 5 and Sky. Oliver, 26, is also a best-selling cookery writer, having sold more than five million books so far. The third Naked Chef volume, published last autumn, has sold 1.3 million copies.