Veteran presenter Peter Purves has voiced his upset over being axed from covering Crufts on television after 41 years commentating on the annual event.
The 80-year-old won't be returning to present Channel 4's coverage on the annual dog show, with Purves claiming he was being ditched as the broadcaster "refreshed" its line-up.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, he shared: “I was stunned actually, there hadn’t been a hint about it. This would be my 42nd year at the show. I just feel it’s part of my life, I was very shocked, I was very hurt.”
He also told of how it had "considerably upset" his wife Kathryn and that at his age "there isn't a lot of work on television".
Purves added: “I did ask for the reasons in writing, and I got them, and there wasn’t a reason. It was just, ‘We are always refreshing the show’, basically sorry one in one out, we’re bringing someone else in, you’re out.”
Asked by the ITV show's presenters if it’s a code for ageism, he said: “I believe that the diktat has probably come from Channel 4 we want a younger presentation team. I know that that was said, I can’t prove it, no one has written it down to me, but I know it. So that has been said. Channel 4 want a younger presentation team, so I had to go.”
Yahoo News UK has contacted the production company that makes Crufts for Channel 4 for comment.
The Blue Peter alum explained he had been invited to be a paid guest contributor on the show for two of the programmes too, but he felt it was offered so as to "soften the blow".
Purves' removal from the coverage comes as he had been invited by the Kennel Club to present the trophy for Best in Show at Crufts 2020.
Earlier this year, Channel 4 announced that it would be broadcasting Crufts until 2022, having shown the programme since 2010.