John McCririck blames ageism as he is 'sacked' from C4 Racing

John McCririck McCririck is well known for his flamboyant clothes and love of cigars

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Longtime Channel 4 racing pundit John McCririck has accused bosses of "ageism", after he was dropped from the station's line-up of presenters.

The 72-year-old said he was "devastated at being sacked" after the broadcaster announced its new racing team, led by Clare Balding.

Nick Luck will join Balding as a key presenter from January 2013.

McCririck will be replaced by his current sidekick Tanya Stevenson, providing trackside betting odds.

On air, the presenter often refers to her as "the female".

The veteran presenter claimed Channel 4 had cited "audience research" as the reason for his departure.

"Yes, I do antagonise people as reactions to being twice in the Celebrity Big Brother house and also on Coach Trip prove.

Clare Balding Clare Balding leads the new look team alongside Nick Luck

"Yet, as Clare Balding, a terrific choice to lead the new young team, said recently, I've become the face of racing alongside Frankie Dettori and now of course Clare herself."

McCririck has covered betting for 31 years, first on ITV then Channel 4. He noted that of the 13 people now presenting Channel 4's racing coverage, only Jim McGrath was over 50.

"It is so sad that Channel 4 boss Jay Hunt and production chief Carl Hicks, both long-time BBC executives, have again gone down their well-worn path of ageism."

He continued: "Without any consultation or being asked to change my presentation style, I was only told by Channel 4's Head Of Sport Jamie Aitchison half an hour before their press release."

The pundit warned bosses that racing was a sport for "all ages and classes of society".

"I trust those now in power, having shown their macho images as all new producers do by getting rid of their most well-known older performer, don't forget that racing appeals to all generations."

'Insightful and intelligent'

Channel 4's Sports Editor Aitchison thanked the current presenting team for "their commitment and enthusiasm to Channel 4 and the racing coverage over the years".

He said it was a "real privilege" to be the "new home of horseracing" after the BBC lost the rights to horseracing earlier this year.

He added that the new-look team had been "carefully selected" to provide "a mix of broadcasting heavyweights and racing experts" who could ensure "insightful, intelligent and ground-breaking" coverage.

Luck and Balding will be joined by roving reporters Alice Plunkett, Rishi Persad and Emma Spencer, while Jim McGrath will be joined by new recruits Graham Cunningham and Mick Fitzgerald for in-depth analysis.

Simon Holt will stay on as commentator, with support from Richard Hoiles.

Luck, who will join Balding for the big events such as the Cheltenham Festival, Derby, Grand National and Royal Ascot, called the role "an incredibly exciting opportunity".

He will also front Channel 4 Racing's weekly Saturday afternoon programmes.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said the new team "reflects our desire to give a new approach to covering horseracing as we become the terrestrial home of the sport".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    I always considered McCririck an idiot and an embarrassment to watch. He always acted like a child. Good riddance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    I don't think it's news to many that C4 is even more obsessed with youth and looks than the rest of the media. It's also viciously fat-phobic and increasingly reliant on 'freakshow' TV about dwarves, gypsies,
    and deformities, which it packages as 'groundbreaking documentaries' in order to maintain its public service broadcaster status. It's socially corrosive and desperately needs reforming.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    What is wrong with people. Clare Balding has been a sports presenter for a number of years and a good one. I just wonder if her sexual preference has anything to do with the nasty comments about her. Personally I don't care about sexual preference, race, colour or creed as long as the person is good at what they do.

    At least there might me a clearer view of the horse racing on C4 from now on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    It's not ageism John, it's the fact that you're a pratt. Nice to you see you try and blame anything other than yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    I thought he was an exellent presenter.He was the punter's friend who challenge alot of issues from bad prices to trainers.
    the toffs will we happy to see the back off him I would have loved him to stay and put Balding in her place.
    he will get a new job no problem the morning line will realise after a couple of weeks what a mistake they have made.going to be really boring now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    I will never forget seeing him on Caoch Trip, where he picked his nose and ate it and then arued it was perfectly natural and good for you!
    Thank God he has gone! I just hope no one else offers him a job, unless it is in outer Mongolia.

  • Comment number 106.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    @100 - As she's presenting a racing programme, it's not really a problem...

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    He is bad advert for any TV channel and for any man of today. . . . . . When he travels first class while putting his wife in 2nd, he has no place in our 'equal' society and most certainly should not be up on any pedastal!

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.


    Hear, hear !! There seems to be a lot of agitated women on here today...i can only imagine they've made a stew and have some spare time on their hands.

    Me - I'll have a cup of tea please ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Whatever people's feelings about him, he is correct in accusing C4 of ageism, I am getting fed up seeing nothing but 30 to 45 year olds on screen. Adverts are the same and heaven forbid that the older contestants get anywhere on show's like Strictly (yes I know it's BBC but a good example) Why do people find age an embarrassment? It's to be valued not hidden from sight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Always been a Mccririck fan of sorts, but I have no issue with him losing his job. What I cant get my head around is why they have got rid of him and kept Tanya Stevenson on. No personality whatsoever, only ever repeats what he says and she cant even speak properly..dull as dishwater.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Apart from diving and equestrian events, Clare Balding knows very little about sport.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    I first thought of a Sinclair C4...

  • Comment number 97.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Thank god ! we have hopefully seen the back of this gastly ignoramous he no doubt will pop up somewhere, probably Chanel 462 at 3.30 am anything to stay on the box.

    Good ridance!

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    I'm not surprised McCririck has been dropped, he's become more banal and eccentric over the years. In recent years he's probably done less than 50% of the programmes anyway.

    I'm disappointed to see John Francome and Mike Cattermole go, and I'd also like to have seen Stuart Machin and a fairly recently retired flat jockey in the team - perhaps a hole for Frankie when he retires from riding?

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    McCririck: A craven self-publicist who never tipped a winner in all the time that we had to endure him. I would have preferred the astute Lydia Hislop, to Ms Balding. Emma Spencer needs to get over her loathing for Hayley Turner, if she is to do a good job; perhaps a girls night out is needed there. At least the Daily Mirror's incompetent tipster, Dave Yates, is not in the line up. Poor Mr Cat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    People should realise that McCririck is not serious when he espouses his sexist rantings. Do you imagine for one moment Tanya, for example, would continue to work alongside such a person if he was?
    McCririck is a character, yes, but he is to his sport what Arlott was to cricket; what Waddell was to darts. His contribution to horse racing was tremendous. He will be missed.


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