BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

4 min


Ms McGovern became a famous face for the BBC. Having daily spots on its flagship breakfast show, the broadcaster was able to increase her public profile through the corporation.

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She slowly rose through the ranks, becoming the main businesses presenter for Breakfast.

Often, Ms McGovern would host the entire show.

Her rise to the top was a remarkable story, given she started as an intern on the Tomorrow’s World programme before securing part-time work as a current affairs researcher.

Many serenaded Ms McGovern with messages of congratulation after she announced she and her girlfriend were expecting their first child.

BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

BBC latest: Steph McGovern claimed ‘posh’ women who work similar jobs as her make more money (Image: BBC)

BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

Steph McGovern: The former BBC broadcaster was known for making her voice heard (Image: GETTY)

She eventually gave birth to a baby girl in November 2019.

She was, however, an outspoken critic of the BBC’s gender pay gap row, in which the corporation’s data revealed men earned disproportionately more for the same jobs.

Shortly after receiving a salary boost in the aftermath of the row which saw her pay-packet increase to a six-figure salary, Ms McGovern again spoke out about her pay, or what she saw as a lack thereof.

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She complained to The Sunday Times that her fellow “posh” broadcasters earned more than her.

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BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

BBC Breakfast: The Breakfast gang pictured together at the TV awards (Image: GETTY)

The 38-year-old 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.

“We concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class.

“It’s dead important to represent loads of different cultures.

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BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

Dan Walker latest: Steph was a regular alongside the likes of Dan Walker (Image: PA)

BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

BBC: Steph and Charlie Stayt reporting for Breakfast (Image: PA)

“But what the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds.

“It’s just posh.”

The Middlesbrough-born presenter said “a lot of people in management are from the same background”.

“We’re talking about: ‘How do we represent more working class people?’ when they themselves are not working class.

“So how do they know?”

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BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

Have I Got News For You: Steph has featured as a presenter on the comedy show (Image: BBC)

She went on to tell of an encounter with a manager who told her she was “too common” to be a BBC presenter.

Ms McGovern, seeing the media storm she had caused by doing the interview, quickly made an attempt to clarify what she meant.

The day after the piece was published, she posted a tweet that read: “I was asked to do an interview with the education editor at the Sunday Times about my work with Young Enterprise; a charity helping young people learn about business which I have been heavily involved with for many years.

“Towards the end of the interview I was asked about BBC pay and culture. I said I thought that the issue wasn’t just about gender, but also about class.

BBC backlash: Steph McGovern’s furious critique of ‘posh’ broadcaster exposed

Gender pay gap: McGovern was angered on learning about the BBC gender pay gap scandal (Image: GETTY)

“I also said that we talk a lot in the BBC about how to be better at ethnic diversity, which is important because we’re not good enough at it. However we never talk about class and I suggested that if we did it would make us more diverse in lots of ways, including ethnicity.

“I am in a very fortunate position; I love my job and never dreamed I would have such an amazing career and salary. I grew up in Middlesbrough, a town that is often portrayed in a negative light, but one I love.

“I want the people I grew up with and everyone from a place deemed as ‘poor’ to know that they should never be held back from achieving the best in life and they should be proud of where they’re from. That’s it.”

Ms McGovern left the BBC in October 2019 and now presents ‘The Steph Show’ on Channel 4’.


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