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Jonathan Ross to leave the BBC after 13 years

Veteran presenter Jonathan Ross, seen here, is to leave the ...

Veteran presenter Jonathan Ross is to leave the BBC after 13 years, the star announced on Thursday, saying the decision was "not financially motivated".

Ross, who is the BBC's highest paid star, will leave the corporation in July when his three year contract, worth some 18 million pounds, comes to an end.

The 49-year-old is one of the most successful radio and TV presenters of his generation, hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, the BBC's flagship film review programme and a Saturday morning chat show on Radio 2.

"Although I have had a wonderful time working for the BBC, and am very proud of the shows I have made while there, over the last two weeks I have decided not to re-negotiate when my current contract comes to an end," he said in a statement.

Ross, who comes from Leytonstone in east London, also stressed his decision was "not financially motivated".

"I signed my current contract with the BBC having turned down more lucrative offers from other channels because it was where I wanted to be and -- as I have said before -- would happily have stayed there for any fee they cared to offer, but there were other considerations," he said without elaborating.

His departure comes after a difficult few years at the BBC.

In 2008, Ross was suspended for three months over the 'Sachsgate' affair -- a lewd on-air radio prank with comedian Russell Brand which saw the two leaving a series of explicit messages on the answerphone of former "Fawlty Towers" actor Andrew Sachs, 78.

The broadcast, which sparked more than 50,000 complaints and provoked a political outcry, deeply embarrassed the BBC.

He had also drawn sharp criticism for various other crude or offensive remarks, including a quip at the 2007 British Comedy Awards in which he retorted: "I'm worth 1,000 BBC journalists."

After leaving in the summer, Ross will continue to host the Bafta Film Awards, Comic Relief and other BBC specials.

Source: AFP

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