GOLDEN GLOBE-winning comedian Ricky Gervais turned down an exclusive $9.5 million (GBP5 million) deal with the BBC because he didn't want to become the UK broadcaster's "bitch".

Gervais was offered the huge sum on the back of the international success of his BBC spoof documentary series The Office, but decided his artistic integrity was more important to him.

He says, "I could have taken GBP5 million to sign a deal. But I didn't want to be the BBC's bitch. I couldn't have lived with myself.

"I think handcuff deals promote laziness and extravagance. It's a bad idea for both parties.

"The only good thing is that they offer you loads of money. But I don't need the cash because my DVDs sell loads."

22/03/2005 09:11