TV Pundit loses age discrimination case

Legendary racing pundit John McCririck was given his “pantomime persona” as the reason for his dismissal from broadcaster Channel 4 due to the fact that it was “unpalatable” to a nationwide audience. An employment tribunal stated that this was a sufficient and just reason for the dismissal of the 73-year-old horse racing pundit.

An employment panel gave a unanimous decision against Mr McCririck who alleged that he had been given the sack following an astonishing 29 year long career in television due to his old age. The employment tribunal however favoured the argument put forward by Channel 4 who argued that the sacking was part of a wider plan to introduce horse racing to a wider more diverse audience.

The applicant in this case, Mr McCririck stated that this decision and the reasoning behind it showed a “historic setback” for those over 30 who wish to lodge claims for unfair dismissal based on age discrimination. The racing pundit earlier in the year took TV production company IMG Media Limited as well as Channel 4 to the tribunal while seeking to be compensated in the sum of £3m for the damages caused. Both parties denied and defended the allegations of discrimination. As expected both Channel 4 and IMG welcomed the decision reached by the e Central London Employment Tribunal.

While at the forefront of Channel 4’s racing coverage the racing pundit became famous with his attire consisting of gold jewellery, deer-stalker hats and wild gesticulations. On later TV appearances such as Wife Swap and Big Brother Mr McCririck confessed to his “pantomime villain” appearance. The aging pundit was replaced by a revamped team headed by Clare Balding when Channel 4 obtained broadcasting rights for horse racing in March 2012.

In the report the tribunal panel concluded that having obtained rights to broad cast Royal Ascot and the Grand National which are considered to be the crown jewels of the sport, it was evident why the broadcaster wanted to appeal to a younger audience  while maintaining its existent over 55 male audients.

The tribunal went on to state that Mr McCririck’s celebrity profile had increased after airing his personal views on matters which were previously not known to the public. The report referred to the pundit being asked to leave other well-known TV programmes such as Hell’s Kitchen, Alan Titchmarsh, and Loose Women, following the publication of his views.