Backlash over BBC Cerys’s class war on public school bands
BBC presenter Cerys Matthews was branded ‘small minded’ and ‘prejudiced’ last night after revealing she tried to avoid playing the music of public school educated stars on her radio show.
Music fans and MPs reacted with dismay after the 49-year-old suggested she did not give airtime to those who had had a ‘leg-up in life’.
Her purge of the privileged could hit a large number of privately educated acts including Lily Allen, James Blunt and Coldplay.
It will also prove embarrassing for the BBC which insists playlists are determined solely by the quality of music.
The former lead singer of rock band Catatonia was immediately criticised by music fans. On social media one said: ‘What kind of DJ disregards amazing music because the band went to a particular school? Prejudiced and small minded.’
A fan of the band Radiohead, who would also be caught up in the ban, wrote: ‘You should be ashamed of your decision to not play music based on perceived social standing. Radiohead sold more records than you because they made better music regardless of which school they went to.’
Ms Matthews was telling the trade paper Music Week how she selected the songs for her Sunday morning show on Radio 6 Music when she said: ‘You have to try and listen to everything and take into consideration where one person has had more of a legup than somebody else, and act on it ... Because if you’ve been through the public school system you’ve had so many legs up.’ Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘I’m not entirely sure why she works at the BBC, which is full of people who come from over-privileged backgrounds. If she doesn’t want to be accused of being a hypocrite she might want to resign from her role at the BBC.’
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘This is an appalling example of discrimination which should not be allowed on our “impartial” BBC.’
Matthews tried to diffuse the row, saying in a tweet her comments had been taken out of context.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘No artists are banned from Radio 6 Music and at no point did Cerys suggest any were banned from her show.’
UNDER FIRE: Cerys Matthews