Alan Titchmarsh has claimed that older women working in television should stop moaning about being passed over for jobs because it’s easier for them at the beginning of their careers.
The 64-year-old TV gardener and author of raunchy novels told The Observer: “Men in television tend to last a bit longer at the end of their careers, but it is women who make hay at the beginning."
“They don’t complain in their early days when they are disporting themselves on sports cars. I’d like to see a mix of all ages on TV and wish there could be less whingeing about it.”
His views go against those of fellow broadcast veterans John Humphrys and David Dimbleby, who respectively decried the lack of older women on TV as “morally wrong” and a “crazy loss of talent”.
In 2011, former BBC presenter Miriam O’Reilly, 56, won her age discrimination case against the corporation after being dropped from Countryfile.
She told the Telegraph that Titchmarsh should “know better”.
“What on earth is he talking about? We are not whingeing. We have to be vocal to make things change,” she said.
“We have to speak out about what is going on now in TV. I think that a lot of people are getting the message that TV treats older women unfairly, but we have to keep saying it, we have to keep pushing at the door. That really makes me angry to suggest that because we are speaking out about age discrimination on TV that it’s whingeing. We are protesting, we are campaigning for change.”