The BBC has paid Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson millions of pounds for his share in the company behind the show’s international success.
Accounts published today by BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, show it paid a total of £16.2 million to take control of the firm called Bedder 6.
The BBC already owned half the firm and the deal saw Clarkson, who had a 30 per cent share, collect more than £8 million while his colleague, Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman, picked up more than £5 million.
A spokesman for BBC Worldwide said: “No licence fee income was used by BBC Worldwide to pay the exiting shareholders of Bedder 6 in 2012.
“In just five years the business grew its profits five-fold (and its revenue to £149 million), which would not have been possible without the involvement of the show’s creative talent.
“The deal also secured the future of the Top Gear brand for the BBC and BBC Worldwide and we now benefit from 100% of its profit stream.”
BBC Worldwide reported a rise in its profits from £155 million to £156 million in the 12 months to the end of March.
It has made more than £1 billion for the corporation since its creation in 2007.