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BBC accused of dropping presenters who are not "young and pretty"

Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith gives evidence at an age discrimination tribunal

The Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith has told a tribunal on Tuesday, that she was dropped from the rural affairs show as she "was not young or pretty".

Smith, who had presented the show for nearly a decade, is understood to be one of the four Countryfile presenters to be axed from the BBC1 show after it switched from Sunday mornings to a new Sunday teatime slot last year.

She was giving evidence at the tribunal hearing an age discrimination complaint from another dropped presenter Miriam O'Reilly.

Smith said Sam Bailey, an assistant producer and director on the show, suggested that she cannot pass the prime time test as she was not young or pretty.

She noted that there was a general feeling among the Countryfile team that she along with O'Reilly (53), Michaela Strachan (42) and Juliet Morris (45) had been "badly treated".

The corporation bosses "wanted the programme to look and feel younger and they felt they could not do it with us", added Smith.

However, Andrew Thorman, BBC's head of rural affairs, who gave evidence after Smith, denied the charges.