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Selina Scott explains BBC Breakfast anniversary snub

BBC

Selina Scott explains BBC Breakfast anniversary snub

Selina Scott explains BBC Breakfast anniversary snub

Selina Scott has spoken about her decision not to take part in a special 40th Anniversary edition of BBC Breakfast.

With co-host Frank Bough, she launched the morning programme as Breakfast Time at the corporation in January 1983.

Later the show was called BBC Breakfast News, and now it is called BBC Breakfast.

Scott was not among the presenters who appeared on a reunion edition on Tuesday, which celebrated the show’s evolution over the years. The reason for this, she writes in The Daily Mail, is that it would be “dishonest” to mark the anniversary with a smile given the treatment she received on the show.

“I said no because I prefer to look forward rather than back, but also because so much of my time on the hideous red leather sofa made me feel I was a combatant in a war zone.”

A particular issue for Scott appears to be the relationship she had with her co-presenter Bough. She claims that he made fun of her by making sexual remarks in front of colleagues and excruciatingly kissing her when photographers were present.

“If he felt as though he wasn’t drawing enough focus, he would butt into my interviews, disrupting my guest’s train of thought, and leaving me scrambling awkwardly to try to move on to the next section in time.”

After a scandal in 1988, Bough was sacked from the corporation. He later spoke of his regret over the incident and said his behaviour had been “exceedingly stupid”. He died in October 2020 at the age of 87.

Another example, Scott said, of someone taking “liberties” was the late entertainer Jimmy Savile.

Savile would not answer her questions if she didn’t kiss him on air, and it was part of her job to “create a happy vibe.”, Scott said.

“Can you imagine all this being allowed to play out on British TV today? Or that women like me were expected to acquiesce?

“Had I appeared on the 40th anniversary show this week, how could I have said any of this? It would have been dishonest to just grin and throw out some platitudes as the show tripped down memory lane.”

She added that it is “important that young women in the media today understand the battles fought by my generation” and that it is “vital that the BBC acknowledges its past behaviour so that each new woman who sits on the Breakfast sofa in the years to come has a better experience than me”.

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