>Widiculous money

> Never let it be said that SSEES graduates don’t have earning potential. However, the £18 million paid by the BBC to SSEES’s most famous alumnus – and holder of an honorary UCL Fellowship– chatshow host Jonathan Ross (BA History, 1987) does seem rather ludicrous. The usual rare-talent, many-punters -willing-to-pay market forces argument sometimes applied to footballers and pop stars – I think Robert Nozick has a classic version – hardly seems to work here. As a public organization, the BBC does not run the same commercial risks as a football club or record company punting large sums on the latest hot property and consumers are ‘paying’ only indirectly by watching Ross’s show free-to-air.

The numbes are impressive. Working out at £6m p.a. JR, it seems, could pay the annual running costs of his alma mater and dent the UCL deficit with one wave of his chequebook. On the other hand, I suppose he has a wife and production company to support. And could you face interviewing Robbie Williams?


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