Anne Robinson on ageism: If Evan Davis had an identical twin sister, she wouldn’t be presenting Newsnight

"The trick for women’s longevity on television is that you’ve got to be clever, versatile, funny and thin. I’m working at it!"

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Ask Anne Robinson about TV ageism and you’ll get a straight answer.

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“If Huw Edwards or Evan Davis had identical twin sisters they wouldn’t be reading the news or presenting Newsnight,” Robinson says in this week’s issue of Radio Times magazine. “I’m not saying they’re both ugly. It’s just a fact, particularly in light entertainment, that it’s all about pretty girls in the front row.”

“But I’ve just never worked in those confines,” Robinson added. “I never got hired because I had beautiful breasts. I got hired because I could write and I could be funny.”

In fact, Robinson says she’s figured out the secret to surviving on television.

“I’ve always been clever at moving on. I’ve never been dragged out kicking and screaming. The trick for women’s longevity on television is that you’ve got to be clever, versatile, funny and thin. I’m working at it!”

Of being back on the road for Britain’s Spending Secrets, which begins on 19th August on BBC1, Robinson said she got a “bit tired of wearing a cocktail dress”.

“It’s what I do: ask awkward questions. I don’t think it’s ever happened on a documentary before, but I did have my own make-up person. I think I spent more on the clothes I wore than they paid me for the documentary, but never mind.

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“I’m nearly 71, I’m the oldest woman on primetime not baking cakes. Life’s too short to bake cakes. I can’t dance, I can’t bake, I can only be clever.”

Find the full interview and much more in this week’s Radio Times, available in newsagents and on Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 11th August