News, Culture & Society

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Will BBC women EVER stop whingeing over their pay?

Will we ever see an end to the special pleading of female staff at the BBC?

They are aghast that the Equality and Human Rights Commission has decided there was no unlawful wage discrimination at the Beeb. Can’t they accept that pay should be determined according to talent, as it is in any commercial business, and not on the basis of someone’s sex?

Truth is, many of the Beeb’s women are already overpaid — some of them grotesquely. How does Zoe Ball cope with last year’s pay rise of just £1 million, poor sausage.

And what about the campaign’s cheerleader Carrie Gracie, who downed tools as the China Editor for BBC News, having discovered she was earning less than some male international editors?

How does Zoe Ball (pictured) cope with last year’s pay rise of just £1 million, poor sausage

At the time, I had never noticed Gracie on the telly. After she quit her China job, she presented the daytime news, and was spectacularly unremarkable. Now she has left the BBC, no doubt with a fabulous pension, although she generously donated the backpay she received to the Fawcett Society to set up the Equal Pay Advice Service.

Meanwhile, Radio 4 Today’s Sarah Montague won a £400,000 settlement from the Beeb, having been paid less than co-hosts such as John Humphrys, now a Mail colleague. This struck me as ludicrous. Montague could never consider herself in the same league as one of the greatest radio presenters of all time.

Similarly, Samira Ahmed, who fought for £700,000 in backpay claiming she should receive as much for her unwatched Newswatch show as Jeremy Vine did for his highly successful Points Of View. Vine is by far the superior presenter. It would be just as much of an outrage if an unwatched male presenter earned anything like the estimable — and highly paid — Fiona Bruce.

Samira Ahmed (pictured with Carrie Gracie), who fought for £700,000 in backpay claiming she should receive as much for her unwatched Newswatch show as Jeremy Vine did for his highly successful Points Of View

Samira Ahmed (pictured with Carrie Gracie), who fought for £700,000 in backpay claiming she should receive as much for her unwatched Newswatch show as Jeremy Vine did for his highly successful Points Of View

Yes, there is sexism and pay discrepancy at work. I experienced it when I was the young boss of older men who were paid more than me.

But the BBC has already paid out a fortune of licence-payers’ money to rectify old wrongs — and the constant refrain from these women that life is unjust paints them as needy and does them a serious disservice.

Broadcasting is a tough business full of fabulous talents, both male and female. If we want equality, it’s stardust, popularity and audience figures that talk.

Radio 4 Today¿s Sarah Montague (pictured) won a £400,000 settlement from the Beeb, having been paid less than co-hosts such as John Humphrys (far right), now a Mail colleague

Radio 4 Today’s Sarah Montague (pictured) won a £400,000 settlement from the Beeb, having been paid less than co-hosts such as John Humphrys (far right), now a Mail colleague

Nigella’s curry is codswallop 

Folk have done remarkable things during lockdown: written novels, learned a language. Nigella Lawson filmed another cooking show, in which she mashes 12 frozen fish fingers in an unholy curry mix.

My lockdown mission was to conduct a taste test on fish fingers. Wholemeal breadcrumbs, disgusting; extra chunky, utterly flavourless. After consuming around 1,000, I can conclude that Captain Birdseye’s original frozen cod fish fingers, oven cooked with a squeeze of lemon, are unsurpassable. No bones, no smell, no fuss. And no massacre by Nigella.

Amanda Holden shared a picture of her Christmas tree, put up this week, modestly saying it’s so perfect she’s thinking of sitting on top of it. Let’s hope she doesn’t turn the lights on or, with all that Botox, she might explode. 

Box clever with Nic, Strictly

Despite a smile that outshone the glitterball, Nicola Adams’s dreams have been dashed because her partner, Katya Jones, has Covid-19. What’s the point of Strictly without her?

As that other boxing great Muhammad Ali might well have said, she stomps like a butterfly — but what joy she has brought to the show.

It cannot be beyond the wit of Strictly bosses to find a way to keep her in the series with another partner after her two-week quarantine is up.

With six weeks to go before the final, I cannot be alone in longing for Nicola to keep dancing — punching above her weight and her talent.

Nicola Adams¿s dreams have been dashed because her partner, Katya Jones, has Covid-19. What¿s the point of Strictly without her?

Nicola Adams’s dreams have been dashed because her partner, Katya Jones, has Covid-19. What’s the point of Strictly without her?

Former Olympic racing cyclist Chris Boardman let the cat out of the bag when praising Manchester’s decision to clog up the roads by replacing half the lanes with cycleways. He said it was necessary to ‘encourage people to ditch their cars’.

Try telling that to your local plumber when your boiler breaks down, sunshine. And I suppose scaffolders should now carry their poles on their bikes, too?

Let’s all be Helena 

Supermodel Helena Christensen, 51, makes an impassioned plea for women to be kinder to each other. ‘We all have the same insecurities, we are all in the same boat.’ Not sure about that, sweetie. Last time my butt looked like yours, I was 16 years old.

Supermodel Helena Christensen, 51, makes an impassioned plea for women to be kinder to each other

Supermodel Helena Christensen, 51, makes an impassioned plea for women to be kinder to each other

Oh, not another royal saga, I thought when friends said I just had to watch the new Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit. Instead of royal tears and tiaras before bedtime, though, it is a weird show about, er, chess.

It is set unbelievably stylishly in the 1960s. It is absolutely gripping. And it’s got all the chessies so over-excited in lockdown that nearly half a million of them signed up to chess.com last week alone. Although I do worry about the ingénue heroine, chess prodigy Beth, played by the beguiling, wide-eyed Anya Taylor-Joy.

There is a touch of Anna Karenina about her — wild, passionate, yet destined for sadness, I fear. My advice to her: don’t get the train.

Westminster wars  

  • Due to rules drawn up by Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch was forbidden from joining a debate about breast cancer via video, despite currently recovering from treatment for the disease. Sometimes these crusties are so out of touch.
  • In an attempt to reassure us about the safety of the new Covid vaccine, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam says it is so safe he wants his mother to have it. Jolly good, but perhaps we should check how well he gets on with Mum first.
  • It’s been 200 days since any minister has appeared on Good Morning Britain. Too posh to push the boat out for ordinary people watching breakfast television, or terrified that Piers Morgan will take them apart?
  • Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings has left ‘with immediate effect’. That should give him plenty of time to drive to different castles around the country checking his eyesight.

Crocodile tears from Jamie Oliver as he says he’s ‘heartbroken’ that his parents have sold the Essex pub where he grew up and learned to cook. With a fortune of £240 million, he could have bought The Cricketers out of his spare change.

Crocodile tears from Jamie Oliver (pictured with his father Trevor Oliver) as he says he¿s ¿heartbroken¿ that his parents have sold the Essex pub where he grew up and learned to cook

Crocodile tears from Jamie Oliver (pictured with his father Trevor Oliver) as he says he’s ‘heartbroken’ that his parents have sold the Essex pub where he grew up and learned to cook

Don’t diss our Di

For those who grew up both bewitched and bewildered by Princess Diana, it’s hard to share the excitement over Emma Corrin’s waif-like depiction of her in The Crown. But no one can match Di’s magic.

And it’s disappointing that graphic scenes of Diana throwing up in the loo were added at the insistence of the young actress.

Not to include them would, she says, have been a ‘disservice to anyone who has been through that [bulimia].’

But what about the disservice — not to mention distress — to her sons, William and Harry, as well as the millions of us who loved Diana?

I’m A Celebrity starts tomorrow, minus the kangaroo testicles, minus the outdoor shower, so oft adorned by luscious lovelies such as Myleene Klass, minus the sun, and set instead in freezing Wales. 

That will be about as much fun as watching a sober and very unamusing Ant McPartlin reading his jokes off an autocue.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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