Former BBC newsreader Selina Scott has sent a dossier to the BBC Trust which she says contains an ‘exhaustive account of blatant and sometimes malign sexism and ageism against women’at the BBC.
Scott, 59, was previously one of the most famous faces on BBC News working as a launch presenter on BBC Breakfast. In 2008 she settled an age discrimination claim with Five News for a reported payout of £250,000 after she claimed that the channel went back on an agreement that she would cover newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky’s maternity leave.
She said she has compiled her report using research and statistics compiled by the charity Age UK (formerly Age Concern). Press Gazette has asked Age UK for a copy of the dossier.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph today Scott said: ‘Even as a young person enjoying my moment of fame I could see and was horrified by the discrimination meted out against women who weren’t in the first flush of youth. But until we conducted our report I was not aware of how pervasive and institutionalised this disease had become at the BBC.”
Scott cites a 1998 Age Concern study which found that ‘older men’outnumbered older women on BBC screens (72 per cent versus 28 per cent female).
Scott writes in the Telegraph: ‘What happened to this report and what has happened on our screens since? Nothing. The obsession with youth and the rejection of older women in television has increased.”
BBC journalist Miriam O’Reilly, 52, is currently sueing the corporaton for age discrimination after she was axed from the programme Countryfile in November 2008.