SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Evan Davis ‘mansplains’ fibre opticsDecember 18, 2018
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: BBC star Evan Davis ‘mansplains’ fibre optics to Nobel Prize winning physicist in final interview as Newsnight presenter
Before Donna Strickland became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for physics in 55 years, she was deemed not important enough for her own page in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
After her win, she was subjected to a further indignity by the BBC, I can disclose, when its colourful star Evan Davis treated her to a bit of ‘mansplaining’.
In one of his last interviews as chief presenter of Newsnight, Davis spoke via video link to Strickland, who was in a studio in her native Canada.
Davis, who has since left Newsnight to present Radio 4’s PM, claims he did not ‘insist’ it was removed from the programme, which was broadcast in October
At one stage in the interview, there was a pause on the link. Davis told her: ‘I’m sorry, Donna, there’s a delay on the line, it’s just the technology I’m afraid.’
The Nobel laureate came back with the zinger: ‘Yes, thank you, I do understand fibre optics . . .’
I am told that Davis’s face was a picture and he insisted to Newsnight producers that the embarrassing section of the interview was not broadcast, lest he be accused of ‘mansplaining’.
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Davis, who has since left Newsnight to present Radio 4’s PM, claims he did not ‘insist’ it was removed from the programme, which was broadcast in October.
‘That interview was months ago and I can barely remember the circumstances, so don’t take my line as authoritative,’ says shaven-headed Davis, who is known for his exotic personal jewellery.
At one stage in the interview, there was a pause on the link. Davis told her: ‘I’m sorry, Donna, there’s a delay on the line, it’s just the technology I’m afraid.’ The Nobel laureate came back with the zinger: ‘Yes, thank you, I do understand fibre optics . . .’
Somewhat hesitantly, he tells me: ‘All I can recollect is a semi-jokey discussion about whether I had mansplained something to a Nobel prize winner (and I didn’t think I had done that at all).
‘I very much doubt I insisted on anything, as it’s not my style.’
Strickland’s win reignited the discussion over the lack of women laureates in the sciences.
Over the 117 years of the award, 51 women have won from a possible 590 prizes.
Tracy, Marchioness of Worcester declares she has no intention of marrying again. Her ex-husband Harry, pictured above at their wedding, became the Duke of Beaufort
Her rock musician ex-husband Harry, better known as ‘Bunter’, became the Duke of Beaufort and inherited the 52,000-acre Badminton estate before they divorced, but Tracy, Marchioness of Worcester declares she has no intention of marrying again.
The former actress is now going out with film-maker Alastair Kenneil, while her ex-husband married his girlfriend, Georgia Powell, earlier this year.
‘I think there is more pressure on men to marry the woman because, especially with Georgia [Powell], she’s got to run that house,’ Tracy Worcester tells me of Bunter’s Gloucestershire pile.
‘She’s got to boss a lot of people around. So maybe she feels that she’d rather be officially his wife than his girlfriend.
‘But for me, I don’t have to be married again.’
Alastair tells me he would need to get a divorce first anyway, admitting: ‘I’m still legally married.’
Countryfile presenter Anita Rani promises a Led Zeppelin-style trail of destruction when she hosts a live concert version of The Blue Planet II on a UK-wide tour next spring.
‘I’ll be on that bus raising hell,’ she declares. ‘Watch out Nottingham, watch out Leeds. There’ll be TVs flying out of hotel room windows.’
Perhaps not quite the eco message Sir David Attenborough was looking for.
Top GB Winter Olympian Lizzy Yarnold shocked the sporting world when she announced that she was giving up competitive sport in October.
Now, I can reveal the happy reason why. ‘I’m four months pregnant and I’m now feeling really glad I retired,’ confides Lizzy, 30, who married engineer James Roche in 2016.
Shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, Lizzy won consecutive gold medals sliding headfirst on a skeleton bobsleigh.
She jokes that, in the maternity ward, she’ll doubtless end up in more of a luge position.
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