The veteran TV and radio broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan has criticised female presenters who complain that they lose out on roles in their later years – because they “used their good looks” to get the best jobs when they were young.
Defending what some see as a culture of sexism within the TV industry, Sir Terry said that there are “no permanently pensionable positions”, and that he expects “lovelies” currently in favour like Tess Daly and Holly Willoughby to be replaced.
Sir Terry was speaking to the Sunday Mirror about Children in Need, which he will present for the 33rd time this year.
“For the past few years they have brought out lovelies like Tess and Fearne (Cotton) to keep me company. I love the girls and there is always this talk about chemistry between co-presenters but I think it’s a lot of old rubbish. But what there is is panic. As soon as we start, we are already running a minute late.”
“For some reason I have remained the only constant, but I have no idea why,” he says.
Discussing the issues of ageism and sexism which have dogged almost every high profile TV appointment in recent years, Sir Terry made it clear he feels woman cannot have it both ways.
“Presenters like Tess Daly and Holly Willoughby are having their time now but they will go on to be replaced,” he told the newspaper.
“Female presenters shouldn’t complain about not getting work later in their careers because they used their good looks when were young to land roles.
“There are no permanently pensionable positions. There is no point in anyone thinking they can do it for ever.
“The likes of Julia Bradbury, Kate Humble and Clare Balding shouldn’t ever complain as there are more of them than us.”
Sir Terry also drew attention to a number of older presenters whom he admired, saying: “I saw Sue Lawley the other day and she is still as attractive and as bright as ever. Selina Scott is a stunning beauty and Anna Ford is beautiful.”
He said that despite the large number of beautiful women he has worked alongside over the years, he has never been tempted to cheat on his wife Helen, who he described as his “rock”.
“I have never had another TV presenter throw themselves at me,” he joked. “I don’t know whether to be offended or complimented.”