Met office forecasters 'off screens'

One of the BBC's most popular weathermen is to be removed from an on-screen role as part of cost-cutting measures, it was revealed today.

Tomasz Schafernaker is one of several forecasters the Met Office has decided to move behind the scenes as part of a streamlining process.

Polish-born Schafernaker, 31, has built up a cult following despite a series of on-screen gaffes.

The Met Office would not confirm or deny if Schafernaker is being removed, but a source in the company said the popular presenter is moving to an off-screen role.

Earlier this year the meteorologist was named best TV weather presenter at the annual Tric (Television and Radio Industries Club) Awards.

But in August he was caught live on air making a rude hand gesture to BBC News Channel anchor Simon McCoy.

This followed a previous gaffe in which he referred to the Outer Hebrides and Western Isles as "nowheresville".

The Met Office said they were unable to confirm reports that senior weathermen Philip Avery and Rob McElwee would also be moving to off-screen roles.

A Met Office spokeswoman said: "The Met Office is pleased to have secured the BBC contract to deliver weather services across TV, radio, online and mobile channels.

"Our new contract with the BBC requires us to deliver continued high standards of accuracy and consistency within revised affordability levels. To achieve this we have employed a fair and open process to change Met Office staff roles and structure within the BBC weather centre."