Angela Rippon defeated ‘ageist’ BBC after former boss admitted: ‘I’m wrong’

Morning Live: Angela Rippon discusses being called a 'raving sort'

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Angela has been a familiar face and voice in the UK for over 50 years. Appearing on our screens and radios in what has been an illustrious career, she has travelled the world with her work as a journalist. Presenting programmes for both commercial and BBC stations in Britain, the US and Australia, she has collected a string of awards on her way.

This included being welcomed into the Royal Television Society Hall of Fame in 1996; being voted European Woman of Achievement in 2002; also awarded an OBE during the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2004.

In 1975, she became a regular presenter on BBC One’s Nine O’Clock News, going on to spend much of career at the broadcaster.

Aged 77, she is still going strong on the broadcasting front, currently spearheading the consumer show, ‘Rip Off Britain’, with Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville.

And, since 2013, she has co-hosted, ‘Holiday Hit Squad’, alongside Helen Skelton and Joe Crowley.

Tonight, she appears on the Christmas special of Blankety Blank, in which she will help contestants to fill in the blanks with other celebrities including actor and author Richard E Grant, comedians Tom Allen and Sarah Millican, singer Mel B, and McFly’s Danny Jones.

As a woman making her career in what was a male-dominated broadcasting world, Angela has often spoken out about how she made it in the world of journalism.

In 2012, her name entered the arena during a time when then BBC boss Mark Thompson admitted there were not enough older women on television.

He said the corporation had a “case to answer” over the lack of female presenters, especially in “iconic roles”.

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Writing in an article for the Daily Mail at the time titled, ‘I got it wrong on older women: BBC boss admits there ARE too few on TV’, with the added subtitle, ‘The BBC must change – older women should no longer feel they are invisible’, he said there were “manifestly too few older women broadcasting on the BBC”.

Back then, many were accusing the corporation of ageism and sexism.

This was especially true after the departure of figures like newsreader Moira Stuart, Strictly Come Dancing presenter Arlene Phillips and former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly.

The latter went on to win a case in court for age discrimination against the broadcaster.

In the Mail article, Angela appeared to defy the BBC when Mark highlighted her successful career at the broadcaster and how she had continued as a presenter.


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He said her role, as well as Julia Somerville and Gloria Hunniford’s, was an example of how “great female talent” had been brought back to the BBC.

He wrote: “Where we can, we should bring great female talent back to the BBC, as we’re doing so successfully at the moment in Rip Off Britain 2012 with Angela Rippon, Julia Somerville and Gloria Hunniford.

“I am also pleased to see that BBC One Controller Danny Cohen has announced plans to bring Anneka Rice back to BBC One prime time.

“We should make sure every BBC editor and producer understands their role in helping us address this challenge.”

After nearly eight years in the job, Mark left the BBC in the autumn of 2012.

His tenure saw the BBC suffer myriad scandals including the Sachsgate affair and a series of budget cuts and staff redundancies.

But he has also presided over successes including Strictly Come Dancing and Frozen Planet.

Angela, meanwhile, continues to lead some of the BBC’s most-loved daytime television.

More recently, she appeared in an episode of Would I Lie to You? where presenter Rob Brydon challenged her to prove that her statement — which turned out to be a lie — that she once gave Terry Wogan during a dancing mishap a black eye was true or not.

Strolling over to him, she lifted her leg in dramatic fashion and struck it down, much to the applause of both the contestants and audience.

Blankety Blanks airs at 7:25pm on BBC One.

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