Top Gear's Clarkson gets turbo pay packet of £3.5m at BBC
Jeremy Clarkson takes home more than £3m (€3.8m) a year but the BBC said the figure had been driven up by the profitability of his 'Top Gear' show.
The figure, calculated from the corporation's annual report, which was published yesterday, puts Mr Clarkson significantly ahead of reported figures for other highly paid stars at the corporation.
Chat show host Graham Norton and 'Match of the Day' presenter Gary Lineker are thought to earn about £2m (€2.5m) a year each from the BBC, with football pundit Alan Hansen is also believed to be taking home in excess of £1m (€1.27m).
Mr Clarkson's total pay amounted to approximately £3.5m (€4.45m).
The figures will reignite controversy about so-called "talent pay" at the BBC.
The corporation has been making concerted efforts to cut the amount paid to its top stars since an outcry over the £6m (€7.6m) a year that was reportedly paid to Jonathan Ross before his departure from the BBC in 2010.
In its annual report, published yesterday, the BBC said that it had cut its talent pay bill last year by £9.5m (€12m).
It also pointed out that the bulk of Mr Clarkson's income comes from the commercial exploitation of 'Top Gear', by selling the show around the world and producing spin-off products and live shows.
The fee paid to him by the BBC out of the licence fee funds for actually presenting the 'Top Gear' programme is believed to be just less than £500,000 (€636,000) -- making him significantly cheaper than other highly-paid stars.
Figures also showed the broadcaster paid 16 of its on-air stars over £500,000 (€637,000) a year.
Zarin Patel, the BBC's finance chief, defended the corporation's record on "talent pay", saying that it had cut its overall bill by £9.5m (€12m) last year.
"Looking ahead the BBC will continue to invest in talent but we will not pay more than we think we need to, being mindful of value for money," she said. "Sometimes that means we lose stars to a higher bidder but our job is to find and nurture new talent for the future."
The BBC also disclosed that the pay of its executive board has fallen by £1.8m (€2.29m). (© Daily Telegraph, London)