The BBC’s “bad boy” presenter Jonathan Ross — arguably its single biggest star — is quitting.
The news, announced Thursday by Ross, appeared to take the pubcaster by surprise.
The star had increasingly become a liability for the BBC due to the size of his pay check and last year’s high-profile spat involving U.K. comic Russell Brand and a series of lewd phone calls to “Fawlty Towers” actor Andrew Sachs made on Ross’ BBC Radio 2 show.
Ross’ contract with the pubcaster expires in July. It was widely reported that he was earning £6 million ($9.6 million) a year, a huge sum in Blighty and one frequently used by the BBC’s many enemies as an example of its alleged profligacy.