'Antiques Roadshow' presenter set to split from BBC

The BBC faces losing another top presenter. Hugh Scully, who hosted The Antiques Roadshow for 20 years, is to be paid £3m to host an online auctions service.

The BBC faces losing another top presenter. Hugh Scully, who hosted The Antiques Roadshow for 20 years, is to be paid £3m to host an online auctions service.

His BBC contract runs out next month. Last night he said he accepted he might not be asked to do any more shows if the BBC believes there is a conflict of interest. He added that Greg Dyke, the new director general, might take a different view to the corporation linking up with commercial ventures.

Scully, 56, has joined QXL.com to offer users the opportunity to discover the value of personal items, collectables or heirlooms, with valuations and appraisals via the Internet.

Scully said: "I come to the end of my contract ... next month. Normally ... they ring me the following February and suggest another series. This time it is going to be rather different ... They want to see if there's a conflict of interest

"I don't think there is a conflict of interest, because the BBC can never supply this kind of service. Antiques Roadshow is television entertainment. But I can understand why people think there might be a conflict. I have to be realistic and admit that my time with the BBC might be coming to an end."

Scully and his company, Fine Art Productions Limited, have agreed to provide services to QXL.com for a period of five years in connection with the online valuation service.

QXL.com has agreed compensation to Fine Art Productions Limited of £700,000 for intellectual property rights in connection with the new online service and £2.3m upon launch of the site for the services of Scully and his company, supplemented by an additional 10 per cent profit-sharing agreement in the online valuation service.

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