03 February 2010
Ex-BBC presenter makes age and sex discrimination claims
A former BBC presenter has made allegations of age and sex discrimination against the organisation.
Miriam O'Reilly, who used to host the Countryfile programme, was among a group of four women in their 40s, 50s and 60s who lost their jobs on the show in November 2008.
She told the Times that ageism was "endemic" at the organisation - which describes itself as the largest broadcasting corporation in the world and was established by a Royal Charter.
According to Ms O'Reilly, women were reluctant to speak out because they feared this would jeopardise their careers.
Last week, the 52-year-old lodged papers at the London Central employment tribunal.
The BBC denies the claims and says it will launch a "vigorous defence".
A spokesman stated: "Any suggestion the presenters of Countryfile were replaced on the grounds of age is absolute nonsense."
He added that the new presenters were selected based on their proven record as successful prime time hosts.
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