Older Newsreaders For BBC
“It’s a mans world” as the song goes, and in television it seems to be very much a mans world – no matter what his age. Now to try and stem the continued accusations that the BBC is ageist, the DG is now seeking an older female newsreader for the Beeb.
BBC Director general Mark Thompson has apparently issued a request to the Head of News Helen Boaden to find the new presenter following a succession of older female anchors leaving the corporation in recent years.
Anna Ford presented her last BBC news bulletin in 2006, aged 62 and a year later popular Breakfast newsreader, having first been sidelined to weekends, Moira Stuart was ditched entirely, aged 55.
A BBC spokesman confirmed to BBC News that Mark Thompson had raised issues over the age of female presenters and he felt the corporation needed a wider range of ages including older women.
The Charity Age Concern welcomed the news and told BBC News that it was right “the BBC should aspire to have presenters that better reflect all sections of our society”.
The biggest public outrage was over the axing of Moira Stuart, who had hosted everything from the Six o’Clock News to Breakfast Time [pictured right] while at the BBC. Such was the fuss Mark Thompson faced questions from the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee concerning the press and viewer concerns over her departure because of her age. He denied the claims.
It of course isn’t just the BBC who have been in the firing line over keeping older male hosts while only ‘young pretty’ women are employed. Five News, produced by Sky News, hit the headlines last year when Selina Scott was dropped from filling in on the news programme while Natasha Kaplinsky was on maternity leave. The channel had however been quite happy to hire 66-year-old John Suchet in recent years on Five News and on game show, Going For Gold.
58-year-old Selina Scott reached an out of court settlement with Five after suing the broadcaster for ‘age discrimination’.
Scott commented “Anna Ford has retired, Moira Stuart has been bumped off, yet you look around and see lots of men,” she said earlier this year.
Of course the BBC wouldn’t be in this current position if they’d continued to employ Moria Stuart in the first place, some would suggest.