BBC star Nigel Rees accuses channel of ‘wokery’ as he quits show after 46 years

BBC star Nigel Rees accuses channel of ‘wokery’ as he quits show after 46 years

January 11, 2022

Nigel Rees has accused the BBC of "wokery" after quitting his long-running Radio 4 role.

The 77-year-old writer and broadcaster left his show Quote… Unquote this week, 46 years after he first presented the programme.

He told The Times he had reached "crunch" point and that nothing would have changed his mind.

Opening up to PA, he suggested the BBC had a diversity "agenda" when it came to guests, and that his choice of quotes were weeded out "for reasons of a woke nature".

"One is the BBC's agenda of prescriptive requirements as to who I would have as guests on the programme," he said.

"The second aspect of wokery is the interfering with my choice of quotations, rooting them out for reasons of a woke nature."

Nigel, who had presented the Quote… Unquote game since January 1976, said there was one situation where the BBC "leant" on him to leave out a Noel Coward quote over fears it reflected colonial attitudes.

The lines in question were: "In Bengal / to move at all / is seldom if ever done."

The star said that over the last couple of years he had started to notice that there was an agenda of having to include people of colour on the panel, and that more recently there was a move to have people with disabilities on the show.

He said that as far as he was concerned that was "a fairly futile exercise".

Nigel said that he wanted people on the programme who were funny and literate regardless of what colour they were.

Despite his comments, the broadcaster said his old employers were lovely to him when he decided to quit his role.

He said he was taken out for lunch and that bosses made a "great fuss" of him.

A BBC spokesperson told the Daily Star: "We want our output to be representative of the UK and we want contributors on our comedy shows to be wonderfully engaging and funny.

"These two ambitions are not mutually exclusive and it would be highly condescending to suggest otherwise. We have creative, editorial discussion around every production and they are very much standard practice."

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