Chef James Martin claims BBC bosses discriminated against his northern accent

James Martin moved from BBC to ITV. (Getty)
James Martin moved from BBC to ITV. (Getty)

TV chef James Martin claims the BBC held him back when it came to his regional accent.

Having worked for the broadcaster for years and on a variety of shows, James, 45, has since severed ties with the BBC and switched to ITV.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the former Saturday Kitchen presenter says he felt discriminated against because of how he sounded.

‘I didn’t get two jobs from the BBC because of my accent,’ The Yorkshire-born chef said.

‘I can’t say what jobs they were, but it was before I moved to ITV. It happened more than two years ago. I know because they told me [it was because of my accent],’ he revealed.

‘That’s not the reason I left. But you’d be wrong if you said they don’t discriminate against people because of their accents,’ he went on to claim.

Anyone who watches James will be aware of his distinct northern accent and, according to him, has failed to gain employment because of it.

James Martin moved from BBC to ITV. (PA)
James Martin moved from BBC to ITV. (PA)

The BBC deny the accusation, with a spokesperson stating: ‘The BBC has a huge variety of presenters with different accents and from different backgrounds.’

They also point out the other shows James has previously appeared on during his working time at the BBC: ‘The fact that James presented Saturday Kitchen, Home Comforts, Kitchen Invaders, Stately Suppers, Operation Meet the Street, Operation Hospital Food, Ready Steady Cook, The Box, The Real Italian Job and appeared in numerous others shows for the BBC shows that we have no problem with his accent.’

James featured most prominently on Saturday Kitchen from 2006 until 2016 which was the point when he moved channels to ITV. Now, the culinary star presents Saturday Morning with James Martin that goes in direct competition with the former cooking programme he appeared on.

He also features in daytime cook show James Martin’s French Adventure and has guest presented the same channel’s morning show, The Morning, on several occasions.

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