Jonathan Ross loses 200,000 listeners on Radio 2 show

Last updated at 17:27 25 October 2007

BBC favourite Jonathan Ross has lost 200,000 listeners in the last three months, figures out today reveal.

The star, 46, who has come under fire for a reported BBC pay packet of £18 million over three years, pulls in 3.05 million listeners to his Radio 2 show.

Figures released today by radio ratings body Rajar show a fall of 200,000 from the previous three months (April to June), when Ross enjoyed 3.25 million listeners.

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Jonathan Ross

The star has also dropped 110,000 listeners to his Saturday morning slot since this time last year, when he had 3.16 million.

Ross, thought to be the BBC's highest-paid star, is one of several BBC figures whose pay packets have come under scrutiny as the corporation prepares to make thousands of people redundant.

The star and BBC1 chat show host was on holiday for five of the weeks within the period for which the figures were collated.

A Radio 2 spokeswoman said: "Historically Jonathan's figures dip in the summer months as he takes a break - and typically listening figures are lower for Radio 2 in this period.

"Jonathan's show is still the most popular radio show in that slot with an audience of over three million listeners."

But director general Mark Thompson is reported to have ruled out slashing the salaries of its big, celebrity names for fear they will defect to ITV.

Graham Norton is thought to have a £5 million contract at the BBC, while Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles is reportedly paid £630,000 a year.

Sarah Kennedy, who worried listeners in August by slurring her way through her morning Radio 2 show, is down 150,000 from the last quarter but only down by 10,000 year-on-year to 4.51 million.