TV chef James Martin accuses BBC of discriminating against him for his accent

The BBC responded that the corporation has “no problem with his accent” and pointed out the many presenting jobs Martin has done across its channels

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Yorkshire-born TV chef James Martin has accused the BBC of rejecting him from presenting jobs because of his northern accent.

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Martin, the former presenter of Saturday Kitchen and many other BBC cooking shows, claims that he “didn’t get two jobs” at the broadcaster because of his accent and that the BBC discriminated against him.

“I didn’t get two jobs from the BBC because of my accent,” Martin told the Daily Mail. “I can’t say what jobs they were, but it was before I moved to ITV. It happened more than two years ago. I know because they told me [it was because of my accent].”

The chef, who left the BBC in 2016 to present Saturday Morning with James Martin on ITV, added: “That’s not the reason I left, but you’d be wrong if you said they don’t discriminate against people because of their accents.”

In response, the BBC released a statement pointing out how many presenting jobs Martin has had with the broadcaster over the years, and denying any discrimination.

The statement said: “The BBC has a huge variety of presenters with different accents and from different backgrounds.

“The fact that James presented Saturday Kitchen, Home Comforts, Kitchen Invaders, Stately Suppers, Operation Meet the Street, Operation Hospital Food, Ready Steady Cook, The Box, The Real Italian Job and appeared in numerous others shows for the BBC shows that we have no problem with his accent.”

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Martin’s claims come off the back of BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern’s comments last week, accusing the broadcaster of class bias and saying that she would earn more if she were “posher”.