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BBC producer accused of bias

Broadcaster denies sexism and ageism claims

Countryfile producer Teresa Bogan preferred "pretty and bright" presenters for the rural affairs show, a note in the sex and age discrimination case brought against the BBC has revealed.

A tribunal in central London is hearing the case filed by the former Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly.

Bogan apparently wrote a note to Andrew Thorman, executive editor of the programme, suggesting that Julia Bradbury should be replaced by journalist Jackie Brambles because she was "pretty and bright" and had a link to countryside issues.

O'Reilly's lawyer Heather Williams QC argued that Bogan's comments indicated that a contender's attractiveness was the primary concern of the decision makers. Bogan, who appeared at the tribunal, defended her comments saying it was "not a bad thing" if women working on-screen were attractive.

The BBC has denied sexism and ageism claims made by O'Reilly and said she lacked prime-time TV experience.