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Old October 18th, 2016 #1
News Bot
Post BBC - muses over getting rid of white middle class presenter for more diversity.....presenter thinks it's right that he is replaced for more diversity

© PA Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games, the wildlife presenter, is to be sidelined from the BBC's much-loved nature shows to make way for someone less white and middle class, he has suggested.

Hughes-Games, who joined "the Watches" in 2009, said Autumnwatch and Springwatch needed a "more diverse team" to suit the agenda of modern television as he claims he has been shifted from the main line-up.

The broadcaster said he had been "genuinely sad and upset" to have learned his anchoring services may no longer required, just three weeks after the birth of his son.

But the BBC insisted any future decisions about Hughes-Games' role would be nothing to do with diversity, confirming he is due to take full part in the new series of Autumnwatch as planned before negotiating future shows.

"Conversations about his role are ongoing," a spokesman said.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Hughes-Games said he understands the need for the BBC to try out new faces on screen.

ďWhatever I may think, itís crucially important that high-profile shows like the Watches reflect diversity," he said.

"Chris, Michaela and I are all white and middle class, so a more diverse team must present some of the films that go out.

"Itís hard for me because itís my living, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, ĎNo, thatís the right decision, it has to be like that.í Ē

The news comes weeks after the BBC was criticised for axeing comedian Jon Holmes from Radio 4's The Now Show, when he claims he was told: "We're recasting it with more women and diversity".

Holmes said he accepted the need for diversity but asked: "Should I, as a white man (through no fault of my own), be fired from my job because I am a white man?"

In April this year, the BBC introduced "tough" new diversity targets including an aim to have half the faces on screen be women by 2020, 15 per cent be black or minority ethnic, eight per cent disabled and a further eight per cent LGBT.

Hughes-Games surprised fans in September by tweeting that: "The BBC commissioner Tom McDonald has decided my services no longer required on Springwatch etc.

"Sad, but itís been brilliant. Thank you.Ē

The next day, the BBC issued a statement denying it, saying: "It is simply not true that Martinís services are no longer required on the Watches.

"As well as being contracted for Autumnwatch we have begun conversations with Martin about an evolution of his role for Winterwatch and beyond."

But Hughes-Games has now claimed he has officially been sidelined, telling the Radio Times: "Itís going to be completely different for me of course, and I will desperately miss Michaela and Chris, and in my heart of hearts I think we do have a wonderful relationship that works on screen, but I do see what Tom [McDonald] needs to try now.

"I wonít be going, I will still be a presence

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