BBC star Jonathan Ross has made light of his reported £6 million salary by joking that he is 'worth 1,000 BBC journalists", at last night's British Comedy Awards.
His comments came less than a week after the BBC Trust gave the go-ahead for an independent review into whether the corporation's most high-profile talent, such as Jonathan Ross,, represent value for money.
Research consultancy Oliver and Ohlbaum Associates has begun work on the talent study, which will look into the reported cost of on-screen and on-air talent.
The review comes after the salaries of key BBC stars such as Chris Moyles and Jonathan Ross were leaked to the press last year by a temp, who was subsequently caught and sacked.
Ross's quip comes on the back of the BBC cuts announced in October, which are aimed at reducing the size of the corporation by 10 per cent. The changes, announced after a less than expected licence fee settlement, will see 2,500 post closures across BBC divisions.
Leaders of the NUJ and Bectu have balloted their 10,000 members for industrial action on the proposed 2,500 job cuts across the BBC.
The result of the ballot, which will run throughout December, will be known on 9 January. Strike action could take place within seven days of this date.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: 'Comments made by Jonathon Ross last night are obscene as they come at a time when thousands of his fellow BBC colleagues are facing losing their jobs.
'Whilst it may be a joke to him, the reality is no a laughing matter to those have the axe hanging over their heads.'