herald

Friday 17 August 2018

€6m a year? Because I'm worth it - Wossy

Jonathan Ross today claimed he was worth the almost €6.8m he earned each year from the BBC -- and said he had turned down millions more from rivals.

The controversial presenter -- whose on-air antics led to the Sachsgate scandal -- also said he had been unhappy with his volume of work at the corporation, and the fact he was tied in to an exclusive deal.

Ross ended his BBC deal last year after 13 years and is soon to launch a new ITV1 chat show.

In an interview with Radio 5 Live host Richard Bacon, he said he did not believe he had been paid too much.

"I would have got several million more for doing the same volume of work -- if not less -- outside the BBC," he said.

"Sure I was being paid a load of money and it must seem like an incredible amount to someone who is in a regular job but at the same time, I'm not in a regular job, I'm in showbusiness. And I was at the top of my game."

Ross thought he had been unfairly painted as "greedy" when the BBC had agreed to pay those levels. And he said the corporation should have told critics he was "worth it".

"When the money became such a big story in the papers, I didn't enjoy that, I didn't enjoy being under scrutiny," Ross said.

"I didn't think it was particularly fair as well, because I turned down a much bigger offer to go outside the BBC than to stay there. So I always felt it was really odd that I was being painted as this greedy guy who was trying to get what he could out of the BBC when, in actual fact, I turned down millions to stay there."

Ross said it had been "unhelpful" the corporation had not defended his fees more forcefully. "I think it was unhelpful that they didn't turn round and say 'yes that's what he is worth to us and that's less than the going rate he would have got elsewhere and we stand by that'."

He continued: "It's like, look, you wanted me to stay, you were prepared to pay that amount of money, you knew I could have got more going elsewhere, you were delighted I stayed -- why don't you say that?"

The BBC had faced a barrage of criticism about the amount Ross was paid, a figure said to be £6m, which the presenter admitted was close. "It wasn't far off that, but it wasn't quite that amount," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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