Entertainment Radio

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Vanessa Feltz's difficult week gets worse as bungling BBC chief sends private email to staff blasting performance

Comes just days after she she was named in 'Sunday Times' column branded anti Semitic and misogynistic

Vanessa Feltz. Photo: PA
Vanessa Feltz. Photo: PA

Helena Horton

A BBC chief has accidentally published disparaging comments about well-paid presenter Vanessa Feltz, who is the second best-paid woman on the broadcaster's payroll.

In a confidential memo accidentally emailed to staff, it is said Vanessa Feltz lacks the personality to front her show.

Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio One. Photo: PA
Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio One. Photo: PA

It also says it is a “constant battle” for the presenter to keep up with the pace of news.

The embarrassing mistake was made by Station editor David Robey, who thought he was sending out a new television trailer, but instead was publishing the star's annual review.

After realising, he implored staff to delete it without reading it.

However, this didn't happen, as the details were leaked to the press.

BBC presenters Vanessa Feltz (left) and Claudia Winkleman. Photo: PA
BBC presenters Vanessa Feltz (left) and Claudia Winkleman. Photo: PA

It comes just days after Ms Feltz described a Sunday Times column that suggested she and Claudia Winkleman are well paid because they are Jewish as "horrifying racism".

She said the piece by columnist Kevin Myers was "every vile stereotype about what Jewish people have ever been deemed to be by racists".

Speaking on the breakfast show on BBC Radio London, Ms Feltz questioned how something "so blatantly racist" was allowed in the paper.

"When someone alerted me to it ... I couldn't believe such a thing had been printed. It is absolutely gratuitous, not cleverly done, it's blatant racism. When you see it like that it's very horrifying," said Ms Feltz.

She added: "The editor personally rung me to apologise. He said he was horrified."

Now her ability to host her show has been questioned by one of her bosses.

A source told The Sun there was a "lot of giggling" when the email was sent round.

The annual review says: "When we launched Vanessa's breakfast programme, we were aware we would have to find the right balance between her skills and the much tighter format.

"We reduced the number of stories (fewer, bigger, better) and tried to create more time for her personality and interaction, but it still felt constricted and lacking personality.

"Vanessa loves a long interview...but it's a constant battle to get her to suit the pace of breakfast".

A BBC spokesperson said: “We regularly review our output.

“Vanessa is an award-winning presenter whose programmes have consistently delivered strong listening figures over many years.

“She is an asset to the station and we have every confidence in her.”

Figures show 161,000 people a week listen to her show on BBC London, down from 208,000 the previous year.


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