CRE investigates alleged racism in Blue Peter appointment

The Commission for Racial Equality is investigating a discrimination claim over the BBC’s recruitment of a Blue Peter presenter.

Producers have been accused of specifically targeting candidates of Celtic origin when they chose Zoe Salmon from Northern Ireland, reports London’s Evening Standard.

A complaint was lodged by retired teacher Dorian Wood, who says the BBC discriminated against other ethnic groups as it predominantly advertised the job in newspapers in Belfast and Scotland. He accuses the corporation of “crackpot political correctness”.

Wood, said: “They specifically set out to recruit from Ulster and Scotland to find people of a Celtic origin and, in my view, that amounts to racial discrimination.

“Somebody clearly said they wanted someone with an Irish or Scottish accent. What about the other people with regional and rural accents?”

Salmon joined the children’s programme in December after responding to an advert in a local paper.

Ads had been placed in The Scotsman, The Belfast Telegraph, Scotland On Sunday, the Belfast edition of Sunday Life, Disability Now and The Stage. None appeared in any mainstream newspaper.

A spokesman for the BBC rejected claims of racial discrimination and told the Evening Standard that the recruitment search was the “widest ever undertaken by Children’s BBC”.

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