Chat show host Paul O’Grady is threatening to quit Channel 4 after his bosses warned they may halve his show’s £2 million budget.

Furious Paul says he won’t tell his hard-working staff to leave and would be prepared to walk away rather than do his hit teatime show “on the cheap”.

“Cutting it by half is outrageous,” Paul told the Daily Mirror. “It’s like entering the Grand Prix but only being given half the petrol to complete it. “You’re going to end up with the blandest of the bland and I won’t be part of it.”

Paul, who says he’s in the ‘doldrums’ about the situation, says he’d even be willing to take a pay cut to keep his colleagues on the show, which regularly attracts two million viewers.

“I really want to carry on,” he says.” I like Channel 4 and I’m more than happy to stay and take a cut in my own wages, perhaps 20 per cent.

“But I’m not going to turn around to my staff and say, ‘We’ve got to cut your wages or sack you’. They’ve been with me for six years – they have mortgages to pay and families to feed. It would be c**p.”

A budget cut would also effect the quality of his show, he says.

“Imagine it – there’d be no guests,’ says Paul. “Certainly, we wouldn’t be able to send our mums to Dallas to do a marathon, or take the little lad who has never been out of Peckham to Tibet.

“Honestly, it would be the bare a**e of a show and it would be a compromise too far. I’d be mortified to do a show that’s third rate.”

The show is due to return on September 24 and Paul’s current contract expires at the end of the year.