Vanessa signs for 500 BBC shows

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The Independent Online
VANESSA FELTZ, the doyenne of daytime television chat shows, is a woman of big ambitions. No sooner was it announced that she had secured a megabucks deal with the BBC than she declared she wanted take on the heaviest of heavyweight presenting jobs - Newsnight.

Speaking yesterday from her holiday hotel in Rimini, Miss Feltz said the BBC contract has edged her closer to realising her aim: "I'd be great on Newsnight, and really good on subjects like Bosnia-Herzegovina."

Having recently allowed herself to be photographed, apparently naked, draped over an armchair, the vision of Miss Feltz in the coveted Paxman chair is implausible to most high-minded news and current affairs executives.

She said the recent row that led to her quitting Anglia television was not about money, but about realising her potential. Anglia was keen to keep her in a daytime, Oprah-style role, but she believes the BBC has more sympathy with her desire to unleash her intellect. Yesterday the BBC said it knew nothing of Miss Feltz's ideas - and emphasised her contractual obligation to 500 live daytime shows over the next two years. Acknowledging that its new star will have some evening series, a BBC spokesperson described her plans as "a little premature".

She will not comment on reports that she demanded pounds 2.75m from Anglia. Nor will she say what her BBC contract is worth.