For months reports have been circulating about top BBC talent being in for pay cuts. And the news was confirmed this week when some of the corporation's biggest stars, including Bruce Forsyth, Terry Wogan and Jeremy Clarkson, were told by bosses to expect salary reductions of up to 40 per cent.
Over 100 of the organisation's most popular entertainers were summoned to a meeting on Monday, where BBC director general Mark Thompson warned them that in the current economic downturn lowering fees was inevitable.
Any freelance star earning over £100,000-a-year faces a reduction of 25 per cent. But some of the higher earning names may have to take a cut of up to 40 per cent when their contracts are renegotiated.
"No organisation is immune from the economic climate and we have to find substantial savings," said a spokesperson. "Talent fees are not excluded from the economic pressures faced across the organisation. These will be reflected in negotiations."
Absent from the meeting were three of the company's highest paid stars, Jonathan Ross - currently on around £6 million - DJ Chris Moyles, who pockets an estimated £630,000, and Graham Norton. Graham, whose £2.5 million deal is up for renewal at the end of this year, has already said he'd be happy to take a pay cut.