Graham Norton is taking over Jonathan Ross’ Satuday morning BBC Radio 2 show.

The gay presenter was tipped as the most likely successor to Ross, who is leaving the BBC after 13 years.

Norton, who takes over the show in October, said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of it. My liver is also delighted that I’ll now have an excuse to leave the pub early on a Friday night.”

He has spent the last two weeks covering Chris Evans’ weekday Radio 2 show while Evans is on holiday.

The new show is expected to feature live music and celebrity guests.

Ross announced he would leave the BBC in January after a difficult few years.

He was suspended in 2008 for three months after making obsene calls on-air to veteran actor Andrew Sachs, criticised by gay campaigners for a joke about gay adoption and attacked for his £6 million-a-year salary.

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

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 month, he dismissed suggestions that Ross’ exit would boost his own career, saying “professionally, it doesn’t really make a difference to me”.