Back­lash over BBC Cerys’s class war on pub­lic school bands

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Chris Hast­ings and Laura Molyneaux

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

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