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BBC Presenter Quits Over ‘Diversity Drive’

Veteran BBC presenter quits over ‘diversity drive’

Nigel Rees, a 46-year BBC presenter, has confessed that he resigned because he was fed up with the corporation’s insistence on “diversity.” He believes he was frequently forced to invite specific visitors as a checkbox exercise.

Nigel Rees, the former host of Radio 4’s ‘Quote… Unquote,’ who quit last month, told the Sunday Times that he felt his show was being hampered by those higher up who wanted to push their diversity agenda.

“We had prescriptions to have diverse groups and disabled guests. I didn’t agree with it at all but I went along with it because I had to. It came from upstairs, and it seemed to be a general priority,” he stated.

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Rees claimed that the BBC’s objectives often led to difficult situations in which the guest knew that they had been invited in the name of diversity.

“I am not willing to go on having my choices interfered with in order to tick boxes in the name of diversity and representation,” Rees told the Sunday Times, adding: “It is difficult having it enforced for the sake of it. It is also patronizing, not least to the people who don’t want to be on because they feel they are ticking a box.”

Rees said that he felt his autonomy decline in recent years, having once had the ability to invite whom he wished onto the show. The BBC increasingly interfered in guest choices on the grounds that they could be offensive to the audience.

In a further example of this encroachment on his autonomy, Rees said he was asked not to mention certain lines from Noel Coward’s 1932 comic song ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’. The BBC feared it would promote “colonial attitudes.”

The 77-year-old first proposed ‘Quote… Unquote’ to the BBC 46 years ago and has since hosted more than 500 guests in 57 episodes. Dame Judi Dench, Sir David Attenborough, Anthony Horowitz, and Glenda Jackson are among the celebrities who have participated.

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