Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Young unmoved by ageism complaints

Kirsty Young says she was picked to be a newsreader because of her intellect

Kirsty Young says she cannot get fired up by complaints that TV bosses discriminate against older women.

The Desert Island Discs host, 43, told the Radio Times she didn't get her big break - at the age of 27, presenting Channel 5 news - for being attractive.

And Kirsty said she could continue to present the Radio 4 castaway show well into her 80s.

She added: "Here's the thing: I know I didn't get the job (at Channel 5) because of my looks, which are average, but because they thought I could do the job... The idea that you have to be young and beautiful to be on TV is boring, although when you see (former Strictly Come Dancing judge) Arlene Phillips being hoicked off, there's probably still an argument.

"It's not a drum I want to beat. I don't wake up and think I must storm the barricades, although I don't want to be told in 10 years that I'm not allowed on television.

"I'll always be allowed on radio - I don't see why I shouldn't be doing Desert Island Discs until I'm 85."

The BBC was accused of ageism following a series of high-profile departures, including Moira Stuart being dropped from TV in 2007.

Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly won an age discrimination case against the corporation last year.

Ex-newsreader Selina Scott accused the corporation of ageism and sexism for employing too few older female newsreaders.

Kirsty became the fourth presenter of Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, following the show's originator Roy Plomley, Michael Parkinson and Sue Lawley.

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