Steph McGovern’s class war at BBC: ‘Posh women paid a hell of a lot more’ for same jobs

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The broadcaster, 39, is known for presenting her own show on Channel 4, “Steph’s Packed Lunch”. Despite reports of low ratings, the live chat and entertainment programme has been recommissioned for a second series, which is set to air soon. Steph’s current endeavour is presenting highlights of the Tokyo Paralympic Games for Channel 4. Like the Olympics, the Games were delayed from last year due to the high prevalence of COVID-19 in Japan.

Channel 4’s presenting line-up includes a string of ex-athletes, as well as familiar faces like Clare Balding.

Like Steph, Clare has years of experience at the BBC, including a string of sports presenting roles.

Steph, who was born in Middlesbrough and speaks with a strong Teesside accent, was BBC Breakfast’s former business correspondent.

A recently surfaced interview with The Sunday Times in 2018 shows that Steph took issue with alleged pay inequality at the public broadcaster.

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She told the paper her “posh” colleagues were being paid more for doing similar work to her.

She said: “Throughout my career I’ve had to argue about [pay]. It’s not as simple as a gender issue, it’s partly down to class.

“There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more… who are a lot posher than me.”

“It’s dead important to represent loads of different cultures. But what the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh.”

The presenter went on to explain that “a lot of people in management are from the same background”.

She added: “We’re talking about: ‘How do we represent more working-class people?’ when they themselves are not working class. So how do they know?”

Steph also recalled an incident when a manager had told her she was “too common” to present for the BBC.

A spokesperson for the corporation said that “more than 80 percent of the BBC’s workforce was educated in state schools and the BBC is more diverse than it has ever been”.

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They added: “The BBC has a clear commitment to finding and developing new talent.

“We offer hundreds of apprenticeships to ensure the BBC is open to people from all backgrounds and a range of programmes to help people develop their career once they’ve joined.

“But there’s always more to do and we have an ambitious diversity strategy which sets out our commitment to fully reflecting and representing the whole of the UK.”

Steph announced in 2019 that she would leave BBC Breakfast after eight years on the programme.

The presenter headed to Channel 4 to host ‘The Steph Show’, which later became ‘Steph’s Packed Lunch’.

The show began broadcasting live in 2020 from the network’s new base in Leeds, which opened the year before.
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