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A week on the web: Rowan Atkinson, Miriam O’Reilly and ageism

We think the phrase rhymes with ‘clucking bell’: comedian Rowan Atkinson waded into the debate about the lack of older women on television this week. Mr Bean couldn’t have put his foot in it with any more alacrity


  1. Forget Adele flipping a finger: Rowan Atkinson offended far more people this week by wading into the row over ageism in TV.


    The star of Blackadder, Mr Bean and Johnny English reckons the BBC should have been free to drop Miriam O'Reilly from Countryfile without being sued for age discrimination. O’Reilly won a landmark case against the corporation last year after she was one of four women in their 40s or 50s who were axed from the programme.

  2. Miriam 'right' to stand up to BBC
  3. Like many viewers of Mr Bean, Atkinson was not amused. “The creative industries are completely inappropriate environments for anti-discrimination legislation and that the legal tools she used should never have been available to her,” he wrote in a letter to Radio 4’s The Media Show.


    Her complaint was no more sensible than "Pierce Brosnan complaining that he was sacked from the role of James Bond for being too old", according to Atkinson, and that true creative freedom for both Bond films and Countryfile could only mean that producers should have complete artistic latitude.


    Right. Over to Twitter…

  4. @TheMichaelMoran wasn’t alone. Many accused Atkinson of likening apples to oranges.
  5. And you could argue that his point about the Bond movies opens another can of worms. He may think it's perfectly OK for Brosnan to be sacked as Bond, but are these stats equally acceptable? 
  6. The age gap between Sean Connery and Kim Basinger in Never Say Never Again was considerably wider. Look away now if you're of a nervous disposition. 
  7. O’Reilly herself had some words for Mr Atkinson.
  8. That stance got a lot of support from Twitter.
  9. Like this you mean?
  10. A bout of insanity - Blackadder - BBC
  11. Atkinson did have some support. Well, we found two tweets that weren’t critical of the man.