Selina Scott and Peter Sissons may have accused modern television executives of ageism – but one former colleague says it’s only right that newsreaders are getting younger.
John Suchet, who read the news on ITN from 1987 to 2004, says the difficulties of 24-hour news mean newsreaders today need far more “youthful energy” than did those of his generation.
“The single biggest change in TV news in the last 10 years or so is the advent of 24-hour news,” Mr Suchet, 66, told The Daily Telegraph. “Twenty-four-hour news eats up newscasters, chews them up, spits them out. I remember when at the ITN News channel we were told we’d have to do a whole hour [newsreading shift]. We said, ‘What? That’s impossible.’
“Yet now they do three or four hours in one go. So you need a lot of youthful energy. If you look at Sky and BBC News and CNN, you’ll see the average age of newscasters is a lot lower than in my day, when the main newscasters were Alastair Burnet and Sandy Gall. They’re a lot younger and a lot fitter and they can newscast for hours on end.”
In 2008, Selina Scott reached an out-of-court settlement with Channel 5 after launching a legal action for age discrimination.
In 2009, Peter Sissons said, “Ageism is still the BBC’s blind spot. Yet it is blindingly obvious that maturity goes with grey hairs.”
Mr Suchet retired from reading the news in 2007, after an 18-month spell at Five News. He now presents the weekday morning show on Classic FM.
Article from The Telegraph