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Ageism

I’m not in the first flush of youth. I’m not even in the first flush of middle age. That means that I’m resolutely opposed to ageism. Therefore I welcomed the enlightened decision of the employment tribunal that ruled in favour of Miriam O’Reilly, a female BBC presenter who was ditched on the ground that high definition television would pick up her wrinkles. (She certainly looked bloody good at her press conference, on camera with her solicitors’ practice logo as the back-drop. How tacky was that?)

Yes, well done Miriam, but . . . I fear the downside may be that our national broadcaster, which normally has a fetish for political correctness, will react by going to the other extreme and flooding the airwaves with fifty-something presenters regardless of whether they’re any good at the job. We may also even people going out of their way to seem deliberately dowdy. I caught the BBC news channel yesterday; at the time there were two female presenters, and one of them bore a strong resemblance to an unmade bed. I wondered if that was a political statement of a sort, or whether the producer of the day was simply afraid to suggest that she might have tidied herself up.  (Before anyone thinks I’m being sexist here, let me add that in his BBC days, Adrian Chiles seemed to take pride in going on air looking like a slob who’d been hauled out of the pub next door.)

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