Miriam O’Reilly accuses BBC of “hostility” following rehire


By The Drum Team | Editorial

September 23, 2012 | 2 min read

Miriam O’Reilly won an age discrimination case against the BBC last year after she was replaced by younger presenters on Countryfile in 2009.

The tribunal win saw her rehired by the corporation with director general at the time Mark Thompson assuring it would be a turning point for the BBC.

However, she has this week made a new complaint against the BBC, claiming that she suffered “hostility” which forced her to leave for a second time in July this year.

O’Reilly, 55, has alleged that a member of the production team on BBC One’s Crimewatch Roadshow “appeared to be on a mission to humiliate me”. The crew member has been accused of repeatedly calling her Hayley, referencing the transsexual Coronation Street character Hayley Cropper.

In addition she has claimed that she was not invited to take part in discussions on ageism on BBC shows following her return to work.

O’Reilly’s 1,800-word letter to Jessica Cecil, the BBC’s head of complaints, also suggested that the apologies following her legal victory last year were “clearly just a PR damage-limitation exercise”.

A BBC spokesman commented: "The BBC has apologised both privately and publicly to Miriam for what happened to her and, as an organisation, we have made sure we learned lessons from it.

"As recently as this week George Entwistle [current director general] said he would welcome Miriam back to the BBC if she had a great idea for a programme – the same challenge he has laid down to programme-makers nationwide."

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London.

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