The veteran presenter began working for the BBC in 1962 but quit in the mid-1990s to run for election as an ‘anti-sleaze’ MP. But Mr Bell has hit out at how much presenters are earning now.
Mr Martin was earning just £60,000 a year by the time he left the BBC after 33 years.
He said: “I’m amazed now by BBC news stars’ pay.
“When I read about today’s news stars I think no one deserves that amount, however good they are.
“A lot of it is just reading words off an autocue.
“It’s not like they’re risking their lives.
“I’m not angry about it but I just wonder how they can justify the salary to themselves.
“When I was at the BBC I didn’t ask for a pay rise for 33 years, but I’ve not regrets as it was a huge privilege to do what I was doing.
“More savvy colleagues said I should have been fighting got get a lucrative contract, but I just loved doing the job.”
“I probably spend too much on whisky. Bells of course, although there’s no family link.”
Mr Bell’s comments come days after it was revealed the salary of the new BBC chairman is set to be increased by £60,000 to a staggering £160,000.
Last month, BBC staff were warned by the new Director-General Tim Davie the future of the corporation was in doubt.
In a bid to make a clear cut from the past, Mr Davie demanded the corporation renew its image of impartiality and warned staff if they are unable to avoid being bias, they should not be working at the BBC.
He warned staff he will be taking action in coming weeks and revealed there will be new guidance on how to best deliver impartiality.
Mr Davie also announced he wanted a “radical shift” in the focus of the BBC as it attempts to reconnect with viewers who feel alienated by the corporation.
He also added there was no room for complacency in the future and said the BBC’s future was at stake.
Over recent weeks, the BBC has faced ongoing criticism over recent months after scrapping free TV licences for most over-75s.
Three million more households now have to pay £157.50 for a colour licence and £57 for a black and white licence.
Anyone caught watching television without a licence can be fined up to £1,000 in addition to court costs.