It’s a conundrum indeed as to why “Queen of Mean” Anne Robinson has been appointed the new host of Countdown.
An old clip of Robinson which has resurfaced from the Weakest Link demonstrates why such a malignant bully should never be back on television.
The video, which already has a million views on Twitter, shows the host asking a contestant how many ASBOs her children had, whether she was receiving benefits and what happened to her husband.
She goes on to ask her if she is a lesbian while the woman shrivels with humiliation.
Robinson regularly used an accusatory tone to ask contestants whether they were gay, telling one she must be a lesbian since she was a prison officer.
February is LGBT History Month and Channel 4 is running a series on the fight for sexual equality.
Crass then to announce in the same month that it will fill the Countdown chair with someone criticised in a 2006 report as an example of the BBC’s “endemic homophobia”.
Robinson, a fervent supporter of fox hunting, is far from an “acerbic wit”, exercising her power to publicly humiliate with the finesse of a hound savaging its prey.
Dismissing a contestant as the “weakest link” took no more skill than a thumbs down from an emperor in gladiatorial Rome.
Robinson is the first woman to host Countdown but this is no step forward for feminism.
She was an alcoholic, who lost custody of her daughter, but her own fallibility failed to nurture in her any empathy for other women.
Robinson so often picked on female contestants not for their wrong answers but for their ill-fitting dress, their hair or wrinkles.
She asked a contestant who was a beauty therapist why then she was so “lumpy and ugly”, given her job.
This from a woman who had so much plastic surgery, her face’s only concession to mobility was a creepy wink.
Every molecule of humility has been liposuctioned out of Robinson and replaced by narcissism and self-aggrandisement.
She should ask Dictionary Corner’s Susie Dent for the definition of feminism.
In response to the #MeToo movement, she accused young women of being “wusses” and protested she “didn’t run crying to the loo” if a man “tried to pat my bum”.
There’s a slogan women’s marchers won’t have emblazoned on their T-shirts.
She boasts hers was the generation to smash through the glass ceiling but then gleefully knifes this generation with the shards.
She has asked why young women don’t do more about sexism, when in fact they have successfully held male power to account in ways Robinson’s generation, and my own, never did.
Not that she is any kinder to older women, believing most over 40 are too fat to grace our TV screens.
She is utterly obsessed by women’s weight, clearly of the school that it is better to wizen than widen.
Robinson was a chicken gutter in a poultry farm before making her mark as a journalist in London newsrooms.
One imagines she took as great a pleasure ripping the guts from dead birds as she did indulging the boorish misogynism of Fleet Street.
She has risen to become a hugely successful and rich woman but she’s an own goal for womankind – a Katie Hopkins without the fascism.
In this time of home detention, we need the civility and cerebral stimulus of daytime TV like Countdown, not the causticity of Robinson.
She has pledged to tone down the nasty for Countdown but don’t set the timer for that.
After all, strip away the cruel and there is nothing left.
Gay former soldiers deserve compensation
It is fitting that gay former soldiers will have their medals restored – but metal and ribbons are not enough.
These men and women had their lives shattered in a campaign of malicious persecution by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Gay men and lesbian women were banned from serving in the British military until 2000.
About 200 to 250 were thrown out each year because of their sexuality, with some having service medals ripped from their uniforms.
Their futures were scarred by criminal records, lost pension rights and blemished service records. This was a breach of the most human right to sexual equality.
It was 1993 when the last serviceman was sent to prison for being homosexual.
It will come as a shock to the majority that such institutionalised homophobia was pursued by the British Government so recently.
It is essential these former soldiers now have their pensions backdated and their criminal and service records wiped clean.
The UK Government must now fulfil its duty and compensate those it made victims of a moral crime.
-- to www.dailyrecord.co.uk