Wossy: ‘I turned down millions to stay at BBC’

Jonathan Ross has claimed he was worth the near-£6 million 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 to an exclusive deal.

Jonathan ended his BBC deal last year after 13 years and is debut in his new ITV1 chat show The Jonathan Ross Show on Saturday night.

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.”

The chat show host thought he had been unfairly painted as ‘greedy’ when the BBC had agreed to pay those levels.

And he said the corporation should have turned round to critics to say 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 in that way,” he 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.”

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