Entertainment & Arts

BBC 'falls short' on serving older women

Sharon White Image copyright HM Treasury
Image caption White has been the chief executive of Ofcom since March 2015

The BBC is "falling short" on serving older women and minority communities, the head of Ofcom has said.

Media watchdog chief Sharon White said the corporation is "not doing as good a job as it should be" in these areas.

"There is a gap there and it is a gap I would like to see closed over time," she told the Financial Times.

A BBC spokesman said: "We don't think any broadcaster does better in representing older women than the BBC."

Ms White was basing her comments on Ofcom research into diversity in public service broadcasting (PSB).

Image copyright PA
Image caption The BBC cited Gloria Hunniford and Mary Berry as two of its star presenters

"Ofcom are clear that the research they are referring to is for all PSBs (public service broadcasters) not just the BBC, but despite that we're always happy to debate what we do on screen," the BBC said.

"We're proud of the fact that the BBC of today has a huge range of women presenters across TV and radio including Mary Berry, Carol Klein, Anne Robinson, Felicity Kendal, Joan Bakewell, Jenni Murray, Mary Beard, Gloria Hunniford, Angela Rippon, Julia Somerville and Kirsty Wark."

Ms White also said that communities in regions other than England felt they were not always well represented.

She told the Financial Times: "We have done an awful lot of research, talking to people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and they do not feel the stories being told sufficiently reflect their stories.

She added: "All the research we have done broadly shows that people think the BBC is doing a good job. But it is falling short on those stories that reflect all of the nation and its communities."

In April, the BBC pledged that women will make up half of the BBC workforce on screen, on air and in leadership roles by 2020.

The BBC will be regulated by Ofcom from next year, the first time an independent organisation has governed the corporation, replacing the internal BBC Trust.

The BBC is currently regulated by the trust, its executive board and Ofcom.

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