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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 March 2007, 14:21 GMT
Wogan charity fee defended by BBC
Terry Wogan pictured with Pudsey in 2001
Sir Terry's association with Children In Need going back 27 years
The BBC has said it is "not ashamed" of paying Sir Terry Wogan a fee for hosting the annual Children In Need charity fund-raising gala.

Sir Terry, who is the only celebrity to receive a fee, has been paid since he began presenting the show in 1980.

A BBC spokeswoman said the payment was "never remotely commercial" and came from the programme's budget and not from charitable funds.

The veteran broadcaster said: "I would quite happily do it for nothing."

The 68-year-old added that he had "never asked for a fee" for fronting the marathon appeal, which raised more than 18m on the night last November.

'Honorarium'

Documents which were released to The Mail On Sunday newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act showed that Sir Terry received 9,065 in 2005 for anchoring the seven-hour extravaganza.

The BBC's spokeswoman said the payment was an "honorarium" for Sir Terry's services and had "never been negotiated", but added that it had risen in line with inflation.

"We are not ashamed to pay him and see no reason why it should not continue. If It wasn't for Sir Terry, Children In Need would not be what it is today," she said.

Terry Wogan at Children In Need 2004
Sir Terry anchors the fund-raiser from BBC Television Centre

Sir Terry, who reputedly earns 800,000 a year for hosting Radio 2's breakfast show, said last year that the BBC was paying too much for stars who would work for the corporation regardless of salary.

"The culture now in television is that the presenter calls the financial and, increasingly, the creative shots. It is comparable to what happened in Hollywood 15 or so years ago," he wrote in a series of essays for the Sunday Telegraph.

The Irish-born star's other regular commitments include hosting Making Your Mind Up - the show which selects the UK's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest - and commentating on the annual event.


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