BBC star Graham Norton’s radio and TV earnings soared by a quarter of a million pounds, accounts show.
The star received £3.23m from his production company So Television in 2019, an increase of £262,755 on the £2.97m he got the year before.
Along with his BBC Radio 2 salary of £725,000, he pocketed £3.96million.
It dwarfs the £1.75m the BBC’s official top earner Gary Lineker was paid in 2019/20. Last year he signed a new five-year deal to reduce his pay to £1.35m with immediate effect.
Dennis Reed, whose group Silver Lines campaign is urging the Government to make the TV licence scheme free again for the over 75s, said news of Norton’s payday was a “shock”.
He said: “My first reaction was I had to actually sit down.
“It will be regarded as a slap in the face for the over 75s who many of them have scrimped and saved in order to pay the £159 TV licence fee.”
So Television, founded by Norton, 58, and his producer friend Graham Stuart in 1998, was sold to ITV Studios in 2012 for £17m.
The newly-released accounts state that Norton, who was still a director of the company, was paid “presenter fees, production fees and royalties”.
The company generates the bulk of its income from his BBC chat show, although does produce other shows including Channel 5’s Blind Date.
Details of his chat show salary form part of So Television’s annual report up until December 31, 2019. Norton presented 34 shows that year.
The £3.23m will also include what Norton has earned from his chat show being sold around the world. The accounts state: “The Graham Norton Show continued to perform very well in sales and ratings, both in the UK and internationally.”
Norton has since quit his BBC radio show and moved to Virgin, which is not forced to disclose presenter salaries.
His popular BBC chat show continued broadcasting throughout lockdown with guests initially interviewed online.
But as the lockdown eased and testing improved guests have been reintroduced to the studio for the latest series which ended last month.
The directors said that “taking account of reasonably possible downsides and the anticipated impact of Covid-19 on the operations and its financial resources, the company will have sufficient funds to meet its liabilities.”
In the past Norton, originally from Ireland, has criticised the publication of BBC stars’ pay, saying ITV presenters get much more.
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He said: “That’s what’s odd about this situation, for the top 20 of us at the BBC.
“For some reason MPs want to know what famous people at the BBC earn.
“If they could get ITV to tell them what Phillip Schofield gets, they would love to know. Also, I have to say, what would really shock the public is to discover the disparity between ITV and BBC. People would go, ‘Wow!’”
Earlier this year he said he was pleased not to have his BBC salary published.
He said: “The only thing that was part of the decision was oh, if I stopped doing this, I’ll get off that list. The kind of high earners list, which I didn’t like being on it, hey, now I’m not.”
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