Vanessa Feltz: I felt age conscious at the BBC

Vanessa Feltz#
Vanessa Feltz has said she felt conscious of her age at the BBC. (Getty Images)

Vanessa Feltz has said she no longer feels conscious of her age since quitting the BBC.

The TV presenter radio presenter – who earlier this year she announced she was stepping down from hosting Radio 2's Early Breakfast Show to present her own show on TalkTV – insists it was her decision alone to leave, but she was starting to feel her age might be an issue.

Feltz, 60, told The Guardian: “I was aware of women over the age of 60 suddenly biting the dust. I don’t think that I would have been exempt from that at all.”

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Referring to the departures of Paul O'Grady and Steve Wright from Radio 2 which have provoked accusations of ageism, she said: “It seems to be a casual culling and jettisoning of proper broadcasting adornments.

"And it feels as if that casualness and that callousness is applying not just to the presenters but to the audience. It’s like, ‘Oh, we don’t need you and we don’t want you. You’re too old, you’re too staid, you’re too middle-class, you’re too middle-aged.’”

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But Feltz revealed at TalkTV no one has even mentioned her age and she no longer feels self-conscious about it.

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She said: "They haven’t said I have to be 23 with a certain leg length and a certain boobage. Nobody has said, ‘Put a veil over the camera and some Vaseline because Vanessa’s coming!’ And I didn’t feel the same at the BBC."

Vanessa Feltz and Ben Ofoedu leave Wogan House in London after bidding a final farewell to Radio 2 as she finished covering Jeremy Vine's slot on the network for two weeks. Feltz, will present a three-hour drivetime show on TalkTV from Monday September 5. Picture date: Friday August 26, 2022. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images)
Vanessa Feltz leaving BBC's Wogan House with partner Ben Ofoedu after finishing her final Radio 2 show. (Getty Images)

Feltz began her radio career with BBC Radio London in 1989 and moved her chat show from ITV to the BBC in 1998. But The Vanessa Show was cancelled after just seven months when it emerged producers had paid actors to pose as guests.

She said: “I went to the BBC partly for the legitimacy of being part of the BBC and then obviously was very, very badly let down. Because the show was called The Vanessa Show, the person blamed was me.

"I will take any blame I deserve – but I didn’t deserve that because I hadn’t booked any guests for the show.”

Vanessa Feltz started her radio career at BBC London. (PA)
Vanessa Feltz started her radio career at BBC London. (PA)

The presenter also revealed that after starting out at the BBC working on a show called Jewish London, her request to cross over into the mainstream had initially been turned down.

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She said she had been made to feel, “‘Oh, I don’t think you’d cross over. You’re a Jew – just stay in your lane’.”