Sunday, September 27, 2009

Valuing respect and diversity (part 2)

The BBC doesn't only discriminate on grounds of disability. Experienced newsreaders, such as Moira Stuart have been edged out, and recently one of the judges on Strictly Come Dancing, Arlene Phillips (66), was sacked, to be replaced with someone less than half her age, and without an in-depth understanding of the subject. In contrast, the judge who was sacked, Arlene Phillips is a choreographer with loads of experience.

Following its hubristic decision to schedule Strictly against The X Factor, BBC Director-general Mark Thompson hurriedly announced that a more mature female news presenter should be recruited. There's suspicion, in some circles, that his action is desperate 'news management' to counteract the BBC's discomfiture over the Strictly debacle. Incidentally the issue of "BBC employment discrimination" was dealt with by Newsround Blog almost exactly three years ago, on 29 September 2006.

Part 2 of my "BBC employment discrimination" blog on 30 September 2006 pointed out that: In the early days of BBC tv, some children's presenters, like Annette Mills and Johnny Morris were much older than the current presenters. In fact, Annette Mills was over 50 when she started presenting Muffin the Mule on 20 October 1946, and Johnny Morris was still presenting a BBC children's programme when he was nearly 70 years old.

But look at CBBC today. How many of its presenters, if any, are over 30 years old? A clear example of age discrimination.
Why is Ed Petrie no longer presenting CBBC? Perhaps, at the age of 31, BBC management considers he is too old for the job.

It appears that age discrimination has also returned to Newsround's feedback pages. Last week I told the communications regulator, Ofcom: The discriminatory policy seemed to have been abandoned early in 2008, but I have reason to suspect that, once again, a similar policy is in operation, acting to limit published responses from 15 year-olds.


Anonymous said...

er, cos he was off filming something else. he's back on now. would you like to retract and admit you were wrong David?

dave said...

Well Ed mentioned he's back for December, so I'll reserve judgement and see what happens next year. It's still true that there isn't much age diversity of presenters compared with earlier times.