Top dollar: Jeremy Clarkson handsomely rewarded.
Jeremy Clarkson has become one of the highest paid presenters in the history of the BBC after taking home more than $23 million (14 million pounds) for his work on Top Gear, accounts have shown.
Clarkson was paid $13.8 million for his stake in a joint venture with BBC Worldwide which markets the Top Gear brand globally, on top of a nearly $8 million dividend payment. He was also paid $1.64 million for his salary as a presenter.
His total pay eclipses Jonathan Ross's $9.86 million salary when he was at the corporation and Graham Norton's, which is thought to be around $7.4 million.
Top Gear presenters Richard Hammond, Clarkson and James May.
Clarkson held a 30 per cent stake in Bedder 6, a joint commercial venture with BBC Worldwide, since 2007. Top Gear's executive producer, Andy Wilman, has a 20 per cent stake in the company.
A BBC Worldwide spokesman said that "no licence fee income" had been used to pay shareholders. He added: "In just five years the business grew its profits fivefold (and its revenue to $245 million), which would not have been possible without the involvement of the show's creative talent."
The BBC's accounts, published Tuesday, showed that the corporation spent $329 million on paying presenters and "talent" last year, a slight fall on the previous year.
The figures included 14 individuals who were paid between $822,000 and $8.2 million, although the BBC refused to provide narrower cost bands or publish details on who they were.
The Daily Telegraph