THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Speaking ill of the dead

Fiona Bruce has no problem with "lookism"

BBC's Fiona Bruce: 'If you look like the back end of a bus, you won't get the job' - Telegraph.

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That's big of her. I would have no problem if there was suddenly a demand for tall, overweight, middle-aged TV presenters either. Unfortunately, it's harder to get the people who really need to accept "lookism" with a good grace to do so. Those are the ones who - unlike Ms. Bruce - have radio faces.Their complaints remind me of the silent movie stars with ugly voices whose careers ended with the advent of the "talkies."

Why do people (even the usually sound-thinking Mrs P) get upset about TV presenters being selected for their looks? Why spend a fortune designing a TV show to be visually-appealing; from the sets through the lighting to the attractive fonts for the opening titles, only to spoil it by featuring an unattractive presenter front and centre? TV is a visual medium. It's for looking at. Naturally, audiences favour presenters from whom they do not need to avert their gaze. TV cameras also add apparent weight, which is why so many "attractive" presenters so disappoint when viewed without an intervening lens.

Why does all this only apply to female presenters, you may snort? Any unfairness there, I am afraid, is entirely the fault of women. They have less developed aesthetic standards when it comes to the opposite sex. Such are the rewards of a TV career, however, that any male presenter will give off the attractive aura of the chap of whom, in Ms. Austen's immortal words;

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Are men to blame for such discrimination on the part of women? Is not such an attitude just as "unfair" as (and much less charming than) the male preference for a pretty face?

Antiques Roadshow was a tired, tedious programme well past its sell-by date. It was leavened only by an occasional laugh at a grasping punter pretending not to care how much his bric-a-brac was worth. Since Ms. Bruce took over, it has (at least in parts) become gripping entertainment and once more has an audience outside the old folks' homes. Good for her.

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