JEREMY Clarkson has revealed he only earned £180 a year from Top Gear when he first started.
The Grand Tour star, 60, brought the series back to the BBC in 2002 having originally been on it from 1988 for ten years and presented it for a further 14 years.
The Grand Tour star recalls his poorer days back at Top GearCredit: PA:Press Association
By the end of his stint at the Beeb he is estimated to have been paid £1million a series.
He told the Andy Jaye Podcast: “For the first five years I was on Top Gear the most I earned was £180 in a year.
“People say BBC people are overpaid – we weren’t then.
“We got paid nothing, that’s for sure. While crews and producers would fly to locations I’d be expected to drive the car to the likes of Europe, we were seen very much as the bottom rung of the ladder, the worst paid on the set and so on.
Clarkson claims the trio were at the ‘bottom’ of the ladderCredit: BBC
The car enthusiast has built up a massive followingCredit: Amazon Prime
“But it put us in front of seven million people a week which does put you on the radar.”
He and co-hosts Richard Hammond, 51, and James May, 57, were snapped up by Amazon for a deal thought to be worth around £160million in 2015.
He previously told how the trio would have to pay audience members to stay in the early days of Top Gear.
Jeremy said: “One of the very [unfortunate] things is when we first began very few people were watching.
“Not just in the studio – we were having to pay, and this is out of our own pockets, we’d get a studio audience of probably, I don’t know, 30 people. And by the end of a recording, we’d probably be down to ten. They’d just leave. They were bored.”
The Sun columnist insisted despite being paid well he has had to sacrifice privacy for being constantly being recognised.
Jeremy said: “It’s very easy to say, ‘How could you be paid £100,000 for an hour’s work?’ well it isn’t an hour’s work, because every single time you put your foot out the door, within a minute someone’s going to ask you a selfie.
He’s had to sacrifice his privacy as a result of being so recognised
“And it’s every minute, every restaurant you go to, every time you go for a wee in a motorway service station someone’s trying to take a picture of you at an urinal.
“It’s contestant. You’ve given over your life you get paid a lot when you’re on television because you are expected to give over your entire life.
“If you’re an accountant and you put something on social media that’s deemed to be offensive nobody will pay any attention.
“If you’re Rita Ora and you have a birthday party, you’re driven out of the country. These are the things you have to accept.”
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