July 19, 2009

Official accuses BBC of presenter ageism

The British government's official voice for older people, Joan Bakewell, alleges the BBC routinely cuts ties with female news presenters after they turn 50.

The Sunday Times of London reported the ageism czar for the British government met with BBC director-general Mark Thompson this weekend to discuss the broadcaster's lack of older female TV news stars.

It's like they have all somehow died off, Bakewell, 76, said. Television has this enormous influence and the lack of women over a certain age is damaging.

The allegation against the BBC comes after the British broadcaster came under fire for replacing 66-year-old Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips with 30-year-old pop star Alesha Dixon.

There are no gray-haired women on TV as there are gray-haired men, said Bakewell, whose comments come after the BBC parted ways with older newscasters Moira Stuart and Anna Ford.

Bakewell did comment on Thompson's response to her ageism allegation, the Sunday Times reported.