BBC denies Delia league table snub

THE BBC last night denied it rated Suffolk culinary queen Delia Smith as being of “limited appeal” in a league table of the corporation's personalities.

Brad Jones

THE BBC last night denied it rated Suffolk culinary queen Delia Smith as being of “limited appeal” in a league table of the corporation's personalities.

It has been claimed the BBC drew up a list of 79 of its stars and split them into four “divisions” depending on their appeal to the public.

But while the likes of Stephen Fry, Jeremy Paxman and Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond were reportedly in the “Top Tier - Highly Valued” category, Mrs Smith was said to be in the bottom division - classed as having “Occasional sparkle but limited appeal”.


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Suffolk celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty was in the top tier, along with Griff Rhys Jones, who has a home in Suffolk.

Last night, Mrs Smith, who lives near Stowmarket, was unavailable for comment.

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But the BBC has played down the reports and stressed to describe the chef as having limited appeal was “ludicrous”.

It has also been claimed that another household name in the bottom category was Michael Palin.

A BBC spokesperson said: "The notion that the BBC, at the same time as placing her in the heart of our Christmas schedule and broadcasting a brand new series with her next year, considers Delia Smith as an artist of limited appeal is self-evidently ludicrous.

“The artists you name are highly valued presenters and viewers will recognise that they appear regularly across our channels.

“Our current schedules and our upcoming seasons make it abundantly clear how important these presenters are to the BBC."

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