Watchdog rules Clare Balding 'dyke' comment is offensive

A complaint by the television presenter Clare Balding that a description of her in a newspaper column as a "dyke on a bike" was discriminatory has been upheld, the Press Complaints Commission said yesterday.

AA Gill used the term in a Sunday Times review of a television show, presented by Balding, called Britain by Bike.

The newspaper said Gill was well known for his acerbic sense of humour and argued that "dyke" was no longer offensive.

But the commission ruled the use of the word was a "pejorative synonym relating to the complainant's sexuality". It added that Gill was using it "to refer to the complainant's sexuality in a demeaning and gratuitous way" and that it was a breach of the Editors' Code of Practice.