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Tuesday, December 22, 1998 Published at 13:15 GMT


Jonathan Ross to host BBC film show

Barry Norman: Left BBC show after 26 years

Broadcaster and former chat show host Jonathan Ross is to be BBC TV's new cinema critic, filling the gap left by the departure of the long-running presenter Barry Norman.

Ross, 37, a long time film buff and fan of cult movies, takes over as resident reviewer in Film 99 in March, in a deal said to worth £500,000 a year.

He said on Tuesday that it was the job he had dreamed about since childhood, and added: "It doesn't get any better."

Norman left the BBC for Sky in June, ending a 26-year relationship with the corporation.

After his departure, the Corporation said it was seeking someone who could appeal to a younger audience. Ross had been an early front-runner among those tipped to take over the show - who included Mariella Frostrup and Johnny Vaughan.

[ image: Jonathan Ross: New job is a dream come true]
Jonathan Ross: New job is a dream come true
After Tuesday's announcement, Ross paid tribute to the former presenter, saying: "As a youth when most of my friends were dreaming about being Sylvester Stallone or Michael Caine, I wanted to be Barry Norman.

"Now I can't wait to tell my friends Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine that I have the job.

"It's a fantastically exciting way of entering the New Year, knowing that a large part of my working week will involve me sitting on my backside watching the movies - especially as I won't have to pay."

BBC One controller Peter Salmon said Ross had "stepped into some big shoes, but they'll fit him comfortably".

The new show will see Norman's familiar chair replaced by a black sofa but the famous theme tune will remain the same.

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22 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Barry Norman defects to Sky