Belfast Telegraph

Anna Nolan: How come Christine Bleakley gets stick for doing exactly what men do?

I remember watching a young Christine Bleakley presenting a television programme in Northern Ireland years ago.

She was flying around in a helicopter, shouting into a microphone, and landing in beautiful spots around the country. She was pleasant, pretty and a little bit gawky.

John Noel, a London-based agent who was my agent at one time, spotted her and took her under his wing.

The rest is television history. She presented The One Show for BBC1, and has now been poached by ITV to work with her presenting partner for the last three years, Adrian Chiles, on GMTV. She is being rewarded handsomely for her move -- £6m over three years. Ker-ching.

It's fascinating that when the news came out that Bleakley was moving, the stories centred on how she had let the BBC down, how she was greedy, how she had no loyalty to the channel that helped her grow and how she was jumping ship.

The stories implied she was stringing everyone along, while letting the channels sweat it out. This, ladies and gentlemen, is known as negotiating.

If she was letting them sweat over her, well good on her.

On the other hand, when Chiles left and moved to ITV the general feeling was respect, admiration and delight for the clever clogs. When men strategically move from one channel to another -- it's seen as calculated and clever. If women do it, it's calculated and conniving.

Christine Bleakley is hard-working, ambitious and beautiful. Why shouldn't she go where the money is -- all the guys do?

Belfast Telegraph


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