Presenter O’Reilly sues BBC for gender and age discrimination

BBC presenter and award-winning journalist Miriam O’Reilly has sued the Corporation for discriminati

O'Reilly along with other women aged 40-50, were dropped from the corporation's programme. In November 2008 these women were told that they were being removed from Countryfile, the BBC1 show about the British countryside, as part of a show revamp.

Her co-presenters Juliet Morris, Charlotte Smith and Michaela Strachan, all over 40, were also removed from the show and were replaced by former Watchdog host Julia Bradbury, 36, and Matt Baker, 32. The male hosts, Ben Fogle and Tom Heap, were also removed but were included in other shows.

Recently, Director-General Mark Thompson said that the BBC had "taken on board" that viewers wanted "much more than just youth on screen". A BBC spokesman ruled out O'Reilly's accusation as absolute nonsense. He said that Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury were chosen based on their proven successful record as prime-time presenters with extensive rural knowledge and keen interest in countryside issues.

O'Reilly has engaged lawyer Camilla Palmer who specialises in discrimination law.