Belfast Telegraph

A great dilemma for Christine ...

By Gail Walker

Oh dear. Nobody would blame Christine Bleakley if she had decided to leave the BBC because ITV had offered her £4m for a three-year contract — significantly more than the Beeb’s £900,000 two-year offer.

No one would even have thought twice about it. It’s a no-brainer. Sadly, Christine made it more complicated than it should have been. For weeks we’ve all been invited to ponder what would be the best direction for her career to take: the vintage Rolls of the BBC with all its middlebrow aspirations versus the rather flash allure of ITV.

In fact, there’s no big difference between The One Show and GMTV, except the time of day. Christine is not going to be doing Panorama any more than she will doing, er, whatever its equivalent might be on ITV. The choice has now been made for her by the BBC, which was tired of her indecision. Pointedly, a spokesman said it didn’t want to enter a bidding war. One suspects Christine’s admission that she couldn’t make up her mind didn’t endear herself to the Beeb either.

Christine is a great talent. She makes presenting live telly look easy, but of course it isn’t. She’s right to get the best deal possible while she can, especially given the ageist culture of TV land.

The only problem is her prevarication hasn’t looked good. In these times when so many of her fans are facing financial hardship and struggling to make ends meet, Christine’s dilemma suddenly appears a luxurious one.

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