Graham Norton has brushed aside suggestions he could become the BBC’s leading chatshow host by taking over Jonathan Ross’ slot.

Norton was tipped as the bookies’ favourite to replace Ross earlier this year when the latter announced he was leaving the BBC.

But he told the Daily Express: “I wouldn’t say I was pleased that Jonathan is leaving. Professionally it doesn’t really make a difference to me, as a fan I’m going to miss his show.”

Ross announced in January he was leaving the BBC after 13 years and his last show will air in July.

He was expected to take a substantial paycut if his three-year contract was renewed, but denied he left over a money dispute.

He was one of the highest-paid stars on an estimated £6 million a year, although he got into hot water in the last few years over a gay adoption joke and obscene prank calls to actor Andrew Sachs.

Norton also reportedly accepted a pay cut to stay at the BBC when his contract came up for renewal at the beginning of this year.

He was said to have accepted a pay cut of £500,000, having previously been on £2.5 million a year.
Last summer, Ross and Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles criticised Norton’s primetime BBC1 show Totally Saturday when it lost viewers.

Ross said the series was not good enough”, adding “Poor Graham, I feel for him watching that show.”

Moyles, who has been accused of homophobia after mocking gay singer Will Young and calling a ringtone “gay”, said it was “appallingly bad”.