Although some people found former editor of Blue Peter, Biddy Baxter quite charming, it seems Ms Baxter could also be disparaging to colleagues. In a TV interview with her on BBC FOUR last year, Mark Lawson said he had been discussing, on the radio, a Blue Peter presenter, Christopher Trace, who he had said was sacked by the BBC because of his moral behaviour. Biddy Baxter, however, strenuously denied that this was the case.
Mark Lawson: .. you rang me up and you shouted at me after I said it on the radio.
Biddy Baxter: I didn't shout, did I.
Mark Lawson: You did. But it's erm....
Biddy Baxter: I'm sorry.
Mark Lawson: No, no ..it's alright ..
Valerie Singleton had a few things to say recently about how condescending Biddy Baxter could be. Valerie told Peter Robertson in the Daily Mail that Ms Baxter treated presenters like children; they feared their contracts might not be renewed if they caused any problems. Presenters were always being told: ‘You’d be nothing without us.’ John Noakes, however, stood up to Biddy and was quite capable of slamming the phone down in an argument.
Ms Singleton said that one day in the Blue Peter office there was a letter lying on Biddy Baxter's desk. Biddy picked up the letter and said in front of everybody: ‘Oh, what’s this?’ She then proceeded to read it out loud, causing embarrassment because the letter was from someone who thought Ms Singleton, in real life, hadn't lived up to expectations. Valerie was shocked. The letter was obviously not relevant to Blue Peter, and was a private matter.
Some of my earlier blogs, including one on 10 August 2007, go into some detail about the way gay presenter Michael Sundin was treated by Biddy Baxter at the BBC.