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
    +2

    Comment number 232.

    I'm not a fan of racing, so personally I'm not bothered who presents the programme but it seems to me that the "new" C4 team of Claire Balding and Richi Persaud is a classic case of the bland leading the bland!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 231.

    Add your comment...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 230.

    227.oakwoodbank "Of course one of the most obnoxious things on TV at present is the comedy routine of particular individuals. It is really time that lot were cleaned up, or better still, cleaned out."

    Speak for yourself, a lot of us like laughing at off-colour humour, it's stress relieving to barbequeue a few holy cows & mock the absurdity of life.

    Humour's an incredib personal thing.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 229.

    .
    .
    Ah so here we have it, you can not have sexism but you can have ageism

    reminds me of a poem that starts:

    "First they came for the jews and I did not speak out."..................

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 228.

    I suspect that age is the issue, it seems in every walk of life in the UK that the only people who are successful are young presenters, young actors, young footballers and the offspring of the already rich. No one else is considered. Just had an offer of 25k for 30 years of knowledge and experience, a friends kid is on 52k to learn football - at 16 with 2 poor gcse's.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 227.

    I have no interest in horse racing but I am interested in personnel selection. I do wonder what system TV uses to engage people; not only for sport but also for such programmes as panel games. Of course one of the most obnoxious things on TV at present is the comedy routine of particular individuals. It is really time that lot were cleaned up, or better still, cleaned out.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 226.

    Whether you like McCririck or not he has a point. Only one presenter is over 50. So is Channel 4 saying no one over 50 likes horse racing? Go in to any betting shop and you'll see that's not the case, far from it in fact. I think it's another poor example of producers trying to 'sex up' the programming.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 225.

    Did you really need to use a pic of him, we all know what he looks like.

  • Comment number 224.

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

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 223.

    How many tough subjects will be covered and hard ?s put to guests,with equally hard/testing supplementaries with NO concern for who the guest is, be it,owner,jockey,trainer,establishment etc.
    Or will the new team's off-screen relationships and the worry of securing an interview in the 1st place take priority!?
    Love to see a horse racing exam,Old Vs New team!?
    Does C4 know what demographics mean!?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 222.

    I agree with him - he's been an idiot for years and it's never bothered C4. So it must be because he's getting on a bit and as he points out, only one person on the new team is over 50.

    Wrong in my view.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 221.

    McCririck's actually very knowledgeable on the betting side, he's been a good punters' rep over the years. However, more recently he's not been as sharp I'm afraid; he fumbles his lines, gets his odds wrong and has appeared less frequently too. It isn't ageism to move someone out of a position that they can no longer perform so well, it's harsh reality.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 220.

    John McCririck is the one and only reason I stopped watching C4 Racing.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 219.

    Am really pleased John McCririck has been dropped as am sure its more to do with his horrendous views about women than his age!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 218.

    John McCririck blames ageism for his "sacking." He should keep an open mind on the subject and consider the possibility that he was sacked because he is a Thundering Gob!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 217.

    What is it about self serving men that wants them to be in the public eye at all times. This character is nothing really, simply too scared to retire and let a younger person do the job. There is another one on the ' Today ' programme, and yet another who has 'retired' at least 19 times only to turn up again on radio 2. You know the one, the Irish ex-bank clerk. Their combined ages are over 210yrs

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 216.

    Only need thr BBC to get rid of Clarkson now. Though doubt even then I would watch a programme about cars, sorry can not remember what the programme is called.

  • Comment number 215.

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

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 214.

    All you guys taking this as an opportunity to criticise the BBC - er this is C4, it says so in the title. But yes overall I agree with the general comments jist, I always found him incredibly irritating and calling his co-presenter "the female" is unbelievable. In the current PC culture though we must make sure we're not going to make it "illegal" to be zany or outgoing for fear of offence.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 213.

    Surely McCririck is not a victim of ageism, but rather of prattism? It's outrageous that people should be discriminated against simply because they are crass and ignorant pillocks. And he's not the first either. Think of poor Andrew Mitchell - forced out of office by a callous media twit-hunt. Shameful.

 

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