Tammie Ash, who is is part of the New Writing North’s Writing Chance programme, grew up on a Bradford council estate but said she never felt out of place at the BBC – and has hit back at Nadine Dorries’s comments about the organisation
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Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries blasted the BBC as “elitist” and “snobbish”, stating “they don’t talk about kids from working-class backgrounds”.
As a Northerner from a working-class background, I appreciate the sentiment. I’m usually grateful when someone highlights the lack of working-class voices wherever it may be – but not this time.
Growing up on a Bradford council estate, I never imagined myself walking through the BBC’s lush London offices.
But I have and I’m proud to say I never felt out of place. I started working on a science documentary at BBC Studios in June this year as a Junior Researcher and I only left last week.
Granted, it wasn’t a long spell compared to many there, so my words don’t stem from years of long-enduring loyalty. But my experience was enough to know that I wholeheartedly disagree with Nadine.
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My BBC bosses offered me a longer contract to stay. I wasn’t pressured to move to London from Bradford even though my production was London-based.
They even paid for my train and hotel when I wanted to visit the office.
According to Nadine, “if you’ve got a regional accent at the BBC, it doesn’t go down particularly well” – my colleagues from Glasgow, Oldham and Huddersfield might disagree with that.
Her comment made me chuckle nevertheless. I, with my strong Yorkshire accent, was hired by an Executive Producer with an even stronger Northern accent. From Barrow-In-Furness to be exact, where he worked as a submarine painter.
Nadine also claimed that the BBC is “staffed by people whose mum and dad worked there”.
I disagree, as does Faye Harland of BBC Radio Berkshire who told her Twitter followers that in her 27-year career at the BBC that she’s “worked with one person who was following in a parent’s footsteps. ONE.”
Similarly, Mastermind host Clive Myrie added to the discussion explaining that his mum was a seamstress.
But Nadine underestimates the public. We all know that she employed her daughters using public money, as The Mirror discovered back in 2012.
She’s trying hard to be relatable but unfortunately just comes across as a hypocrite.
The media is a ridiculously competitive industry and it’s primarily a case of ‘who you know’.
But Nadine’s accusations against the BBC – I’d even call it a vendetta, miss the wider issue completely and that’s dangerous for us working-class folk.
There are many media companies out there guilty of nepotism but she’s completely firing at the wrong target. It’s an industry-wide problem not a BBC one.
She’s let her extreme personal bias show. Why did she never throw ITV under the bus? Is she still sentimental from her time on “I’m a Celebrity…”?
If Nadine claims she’s a working-class Northerner, why do I feel like I have nothing in common with her?
I like to think I’m proof of an industry changing for the better. Nadine needs to refocus her accusations. Don’t look at me though, my parents are shopkeepers.
Tammie Ash is part of the New Writing North’s Writing Chance programme. @NewWritingNorth