Stars such as Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton are to have their mega salaries slashed in a major crackdown by the Corporation.

BBC bosses are currently under fire for dishing out huge pay packets – such as the £18 million paid to Jonathan Ross – according to reports in The Sun.

Other big salaries include Graham Norton’s £5 million.

BBC director general Mark Thompson is already axing hundreds of jobs and cutting budgets after the Government’s refusal to meet licence fee demands.

It’s believed that present contracts will be honoured but stars like Jonathan will face massive cuts when deals are renewed.

All new programmes will also have less cash to splash and many existing shows are facing cuts of 20 per cent.

The BBC now fears that its biggest names will stage a mass exodus.

An insider said: “If fees for existing stars are cut then channels like ITV and Channel 4 will be out to poach them.

“Celebs will either have to take less money or go elsewhere.

“Top brass still want the best names but they don’t want licence fee payers getting angry.”

The BBC Trust is to probe all deals – which it has declared “an issue of public concern”.