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Too old for TV?

November 11th, 2010

The former controller of BBC1 yesterday rejected claims that she ‘hated women’.

Jay Hunt, who was also accused of ageism by Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly, told a tribunal the claims were ‘profoundly distressing’, ‘hateful’, and ‘categorically untrue’

The BBC has denied the presenter was axed because of her age.

Last week Ms O’Reilly said one of the other presenters dropped from the show had told her the decision was “ageist”.

So can you be too old for television? Does it all come down to a show’s format and time of day it is aired?

Michaela Strachan, as well as Juliet Morris and Ms O’Reilly, lost her job on Countryfile ahead of its move to Sunday evenings, with Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker among new presenters who joined the revamped programme. Throughout the last years of its life, GMTV saw a number of younger presenters intorudced to early morning television and This Morning brought in Holly Willoughby (28) as Fern Britton’s (52) replacment.

In 2007, the BBC “sounded the death knell for ‘traditional newsreaders'”, hinting that a campaign to save the veteran news anchor Moira Stuart from the axe was doomed to fail. Stewart’s removal at the time also brought accusations of ageism and sexism.

Are we seeing a development in television and the role of the young presenter, or is this simply ‘ageism’ and unfair treatment to the older generation of presenter? Perhaps even the new high defintion (HD) television will spotlight the make-up, wrinkles and signs of age and that all presenters will be replaced by clear-skinned children?

The tribunal continues.

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