Miriam O’Reilly, one of the former hosts of the TV show Countryfile, has won her claim of age discrimination against the BBC.

Ms O’Reilly lost her job in 2008 when Countryfile was moved to a primetime slot. The BBC replaced her with younger presenters.

Ms O’Reilly took the case to an employment tribunal. She won her claim of age discrimination and victimisation, but the judge rejected her claim that she was also the victim of sex discrimination.

In her witness statement, Ms O’Reilly said: “I felt as if my life had been cancelled because of something I had no control over – getting older.”

The Tribunal said the discrimination against Ms O’Reilly was not justified. “The wish to appeal to a primetime audience, including younger viewers, is a legitimate aim.

“However, we do not accept that choosing younger presenters is required to appeal to such an audience. It is not a means of achieving that aim.”

The BBC issued a statement accepting the Tribunal’s findings. It also apologised to Ms O’Reilly and said it would welcome the opportunity to discuss working with her again in the future.

The Tribunal will now hold a separate hearing to decide what “remedy” Ms O’Reilly should receive for her loss of earnings and the injury to her feelings.

Please contact our employment team if you would like more information about discrimination claims or any aspect of employment law.

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