Wednesday 16 January 2019

BBC age-battle Miriam reveals victory...on ITV

The journalist who won an age discrimination case against the BBC will present an ITV documentary about ageism tonight.

But axed Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly, who was dropped before the show's 2009 revamp, said she did not want to become a "poster girl for discrimination".

Ms O'Reilly interviewed presenters and executives including Angela Rippon and former Channel 5 boss Dawn Airey for the ITV1 Tonight programme.

She said: "The BBC has publicly and privately apologised to me for the way I was treated and we are discussing a possible return to work."

She also interviewed Arlene Phillips, whose departure from BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing and replacement with Alesha Dixon raised issues about ageism on television. Ms Phillips said: "I've never spoken about it other than to say I was on a one-year contract and I had no entitlement to be brought back."

Michael Buerk said some presenters suffered from changing fashions and not discrimination.


He said: "If you've been hired because you are young and pretty, because you are mincingly camp, because you've ticked a particular ethnic box and then you are no longer young and pretty or fashions have moved on and you don't have a job -- get over it. It's showbusiness."

Ms Airey said some presenters were dropped because of "quite simplistic and quite crude" decisions.

A poll of 2,897 adults for the programme found 58pc thought the media was ageist.


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