The BBC’s flagship politics programme Question Time has provoked demonstrations and thousands of viewer complaints after including two women over 30 on the panel.
There were jeers from the audience when Conservative peer Baroness Warsi, 38, and sixty-year-old playwright and critic Bonnie Greer were introduced at the start of the programme. ‘We don’t pay our licence fee to see wizened old prunes like these two on our screens,’ said a protestor outside BBC television centre. ‘I’ve just spent two years waiting for Arlene Phillips to get the boot from Strictly Come Dancing and now they think they can put these ancient harpies on TV in primetime – it’s disgusting.’
Justice Secretary Jack Straw defended the BBC’s right to include women older than Alesha Dixon on its programmes. ‘They may not be capable of reading the news,’ he said, ‘but we must let them express their opinions, however unsavoury and nagging, before we condemn them as unattractive. After all, at least they didn’t invite Jacqui Smith along instead of me.’