Carol Vorderman ‘loving the freedom’ after leaving BBC

‘Countdown’ star claimed that executives at her former broadcaster were trying to ‘restrict what people do in their personal lives’

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 28 May 2024 14:39 BST
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Carol Vorderman breaks down in tears during Princess of Wales cancer phone-in

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Carol Vorderman has said she is relishing the newfound “freedom” she has after moving from the BBC to LBC, following her criticism of her former broadcaster over its social media guidelines.

The former Countdown star, 63, left her BBC Radio show last year, announcing that she was “not prepared to lose my voice” after the BBC placed restrictions on what its presenters could say on their personal social media accounts.

The corporation said the guidance does not include contributors, pundits, judges or guest hosts, but it has put through additional guidance for freelancers along with those not working in news, current affairs or factual journalism production.

The broadcaster said these type of employees “must not bring the BBC into disrepute”, are required to be respectful in public and take care when engaging with public debate.

Vorderman has been a vocal critic of the Tory government on social media and been involved in several arguments on X/Twitter with Tory MPs.

She previously claimed that management had decided she should give up her Saturday morning show on BBC Radio Wales over a breach of their guidelines. In January this year, she joined LBC Radio to host her own Sunday afternoon programme.

Carol Vorderman
Carol Vorderman (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

“I’m absolutely loving the freedom,” she told Radio Times of her new show at LBC. “It’s wonderful. I used to listen to LBC, and James O’Brien in particular.

Vorderman claimed she was “sacked” by the corporation with “no conversation to be had”.

“The people at the top of the BBC, Conservatives, are trying to restrict what people do in their private lives,” she said.

“You have to understand Ofcom rules when you’re on air, which I was abiding by. In fact, I had a light-entertainment show. Showbiz gossip and chat, having a laugh and playing music. Nothing taxing.

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“I never, ever spoke about politics. This kind of ownership of what you’re allowed to be outside of that is absolutely about restricting the freedom of people. There’s a lot that doesn’t make the papers.”

She added: “It’s not just me, and it’s ironic, isn’t it, that I’m the only one that’s been sacked?”

Carol Vorderman to publish book exploring ‘blatant hypocrisy’ of Tory Government (Ian West/PA)
Carol Vorderman to publish book exploring ‘blatant hypocrisy’ of Tory Government (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

The BBC said in a statement at the time: “Carol has been a presenter on BBC Radio Wales since 2018. We’d like to thank her for her work and contribution to the station over the past five years.”

As she joined LBC earlier this year, Vorderman issued a stark warning to “the corrupt” as she hailed live radio as “an incredibly important platform for news”.

“I won’t be shy to say things that others won’t and I’ll hold the corrupt to account without fear or favour. And obviously I can’t wait to hear from the listeners – all of it, without apology or embarrassment; their worries, their joys, their ideas,” she said.

Vorderman said LBC still abides by Ofcom regulations and broadcasting rules, “which apply to my show and the whole station, to say both sides of an argument. Which we do. I’m just one side of it.”

She is due to publish her book Out Of Order: What’s Gone Wrong With Britain And One Woman’s Mission To Fix It in September. It will be supported by her Carol Vorderman Live! Out Of Order tour across 11 dates in the UK.

The BBC told The Independent: “The BBC published its new Social Media Guidance last September which strike a balance between the BBC’s commitment to impartiality and freedom of expression. The guidance sets out clear expectations for freelancers, which includes a particular responsibility to uphold civility in public discourse.”

You can read the full interview with Vorderman in the latest issue of Radio Times.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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