Graham Norton: massive scale of BBC pay-offs “defies belief”

The BBC presenter slams the huge awards given by the Corporation to departing executives

BBC presenter Graham Norton has attacked former Coporation managers for walking away with massive pay-offs.


In an interview in the new issue of RadioTimes, the comedian and actor cites the example of high-profile executives such as former deputy director general Mark Byford and former chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, who were given severance deals of £1,022,000 and £670,000 respectively.

A National Audit Office report in the summer also found that the BBC had paid £25m in severance payments to 150 senior staff.

Norton said: “It did seem extraordinary in a time of cuts where you were asking everyone who works for the BBC who’s loyal and doing a good job to tighten their belts and take a reduction in pay, while those people who’d dragged the BBC into disrepute were being handed sacks of cash. It defies belief.”

Norton added that the BBC was scoring “too many own goals” but added that he hoped the new management team would be able to “start again”.

Norton, who is a Radio 2 presenter as well as the host of The Graham Norton Show, received a salary of more than £2.6 million from the BBC last year and belongs belongs to a group of 14 BBC presenters, also including Fiona Bruce and Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, who command annual salaries of more than £500,000.

The earnings were disclosed in accounts published by So Television company which the presenter and his partner sold last year for £17 million, while staying on as directors.