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Norton flies high in BBC's top-earner list - and that's without his hit TV chat show

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Talk, talk: Graham Norton earned about €790,000 over the past year for his work at the BBC, according to their most recent figures. Photo: Christopher Baines

Talk, talk: Graham Norton earned about €790,000 over the past year for his work at the BBC, according to their most recent figures. Photo: Christopher Baines

BBC/So Television/Christopher Ba

Talk, talk: Graham Norton earned about €790,000 over the past year for his work at the BBC, according to their most recent figures. Photo: Christopher Baines

Graham Norton remains in third place on the list of the BBC's top 10 earners, a list which features four female broadcasters this year.

Mr Norton recorded annual earnings of between €787,000 and €791,000, which is up considerably from his 2019 figure.

Last year he was also in third position with earnings of €680,000.

The BBC, which compiled the list as part of its annual report, said the figure was for his weekly show on Radio 2, a range of TV programmes and for his work presenting the Bafta Awards.

However, the six-figure sum does not include payment for his award-winning Friday night chat show, which is produced by So Television, independent of the BBC.

The broadcasting company is only required to reveal the salaries paid directly by the licence fee.

Topping the list is former footballer-turned-pundit Gary Linekar, who earned €1.9m for his work on popular shows including Match of the Day.

In good news for those campaigning to close the gender-pay gap, four women now feature in the list.

Female broadcasters Zoe Ball, Fiona Bruce, Lauren Laverne, Emily Maitlis are all among the top 10 earners thanks to supplementing their income with additional work.

Ms Ball's pay has risen by over €1m since taking over the Radio 2 Breakfast show.

The BBC only started publishing its top 10 earners in 2017 following pressure from the British government.

Meanwhile, RTÉ has declined to give a date as to when it will release details of its highest earners.

The national broadcaster has not publicly released details of its biggest wage earners since December 2018 - and those figures related to 2016.

They have not been updated since and when asked when they will be released in 2020, an RTÉ spokesperson told the Irish Independent that "no specific date has been agreed yet".

No reason was given for the delay.

The last time RTÉ released salary details in 2018, Ryan Tubridy topped the list with earnings of €495,000.

It's understood that this year has seen him accept a salary sacrifice, as have other fellow high-earners, as the station scrambles to balance its books with pay cuts of up to 15pc.

Ray D'Arcy was in second position on the highest-earners list with an annual salary of €450,000.

Joe Duffy was in third place, earning €389,999 while the recently retired Sean O'Rourke was in fourth place with €308,964.

The late Marian Finucane was the highest-earning female on €300,000 while Miriam O'Callaghan was right behind her with earnings of €299,000.

Salaries for the 10 highest-paid RTÉ presenters, who mainly work as contractors rather than staff, added up to €3m in 2016, roughly 1pc of the company's cost base. Most of them are employed as contractors, as opposed to being members of staff.

When asked previously about the high-earners, RTÉ director general Dee Forbes defended their hefty wage packets.

She told an Oireachtas Committee hearing that "being a broadcaster can be a difficult one and it's not something that anybody can do despite sometimes what the public think".

The Government has pledged to support the broadcaster to the tune of €50m.

Irish Independent