BBC stars paid millions more than declared, meaning Graham Norton is real top earner

Host Graham Norton during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
Host Graham Norton during the filming for the Graham Norton Show (Credit: PA)

Some of the BBC’s highest paid stars earned considerably more than the broadcaster declared on Tuesday, it has emerged.

Graham Norton was number three on the list of the BBC’s top earners - but the Irish comedian actually earns £5.2 million more each year than the salary announced by the corporation.

Norton, and many other BBC presenters are paid through independent production companies on top of the salary they receive directly from the BBC.

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According to Companies House, Norton was paid £5.2million through his TV company So Television in 2017, predominantly for hosting his BBC One chat show. But the BBC only published his salary as in the region of £610,000 - £614,999.

Gary Lineker topped the list for the third time in a row since the BBC began publishing the salaries of all employees earning £150,00 or more. But at £1,750,000 - £1,754,999, Lineker actually earns considerably less than Norton.

Alex Jones at the Radio Times Festival on the Green at Hampton Court Palace in London.
Alex Jones is thought to earn around £400,000 a year for her work on 'The One Show' (Credit: PA)

Claudia Winkleman and Zoe Ball came joint eighth on the list with salaries in the region of £370,000 - £374,999. But both earn more money from third party production company BBC Studios for their work on Strictly Come Dancing and Strictly spin-off It Takes Two.

This is also explains why Strictly host Tess Daly is not on the list, as she is paid by BBC Studios for her role.

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The One Show presenters Alex Jones and Matt Baker are also thought to earn over £400,000 and BBC Studios also pays the salaries of the stars of shows including Top Gear, Doctor Who, EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “The BBC’s Charter requires us to set out the names of individuals paid more than £150k from the licence fee and that’s exactly what we do. Independent production companies and BBC Studios are commercially run and not funded by the licence fee, so are not required by the Government to disclose salaries.”

A representative for Graham Norton has been contacted for comment.

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