Derham defends young newsreaders
Katie Derham has hit out at perceptions of young female newsreaders, saying it is "arrant nonsense" to suggest they are "airheads" or "dim".
Derham, 40, left ITN after anchoring the lunchtime news and London Tonight for the past six years to become the host of the BBC's Proms.
Asked whether viewers may have cringed to see her gaze "with wide-eyed adoration" at her co-anchor Alastair Stewart, 58, while presenting the news, she told the Radio Times: "But that's because I adore him."
She said: "I know how that can be perceived, but it's arrant nonsense and tiresome because women do exactly the same as male colleagues. No one should underestimate how short a time we'd last if we were so dim. This debate goes round in circles. Newsreading is not rocket science. It's a craft, like being a carpenter or a juggler."
Derham, a Cambridge economics graduate, told the magazine: "I'm on telly, so people are entitled to their conclusions about me. You can't control what they think. That way madness lies."
She added: "I don't flash my cellulite where photographers might be. I was first put behind a newsreader's desk quite young - 27. Of course, people said, 'She's youthful. Does she know what she's talking about?' They'd do the same with a 27-year-old bloke."
The mother-of-two added: "I haven't been called an airhead, but one could have a thin skin about it. There's this image of us all battling in a ridiculous fictional newsroom. There's competition, but we all get on well outside work".
Derham denied she was being paid £250,000 a year to present the Proms, saying the figure was "utter nonsense".
She added: "It's a market place and if people negotiate a salary, good on them. Everything written about mine is untrue."
Derham has joined an orchestra, the Mid Sussex Sinfonia, after re-learning the violin for a Sky Arts reality show. She said: "I found it immensely satisfying and won't let it slip again."