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BBC guilty of age discrimination

BBC guilty of age discrimination

TV presenter and journalist Miriam O'Reilly has successfully sued the BBC for age discrimination after she was axed from rural affairs programme Countryfile.

Mrs O'Reilly, 53, was one of four women over 40 dropped from the show in November 2008 when it was announced that Countryfile would be moving to a new prime-time Sunday evening slot.

Although the presenter, who worked for the show for eight years as a freelance, failed in a sex discrimination claim against the broadcaster she is said to be delighted at the outcome of the employment tribunal.

A spokeswoman said: "The primary claim which she has won is the age discrimination claim that on the grounds of her age she was discriminated against and was not given a role in the prime-time Countryfile.

"Following on from that, she was, the tribunal has decided, victimised on the basis of her age discrimination claim."

Three other female Countryfile presenters aged over 40 – Michaela Strachan, 42, Juliet Morris, 45, and Charlotte Smith, 44 – were also axed alongside O'Reilly, she told the tribunal.

The tribunal heard allegations that O'Reilly was warned to be "careful with those wrinkles when high definition comes in", asked whether it was "time for Botox" and offered a can of black spray dye to cover up a white gap on her head.

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