Three more fabulous baby-boomer women to applaud – #Angela Rippon, 66,# Jennie Bond, 60, and #Gloria Hunniford, 70 – the trio of female presenters who have pushed #Rip-Off Britain to the top of #BBC’s TV ratings for three weeks in a row.
The three, who co-present the consumer rights show, are getting regular audiences of 5.5million, proving – if proof was needed – that the success of a TV programme really isn’t about a presenter being 12-and-a-half with flawless skin and shampoo-ad hair, but about being good at your job and having viewer appeal.
And viewer appeal, it is becoming compellingly obvious, is not at all the same thing as holding appeal for TV executives, who seem to think that everyone – no, sorry, not everyone, just every woman – over the age of 40 has no viewer appeal at all. This might be true if the entire audience for TV was comprised of 20-year-old males with no interest in the content beyond the pulchritude of the presenter.
But TV audiences seem to be a lot more sophisticated, subtle and nuanced than TV execs in the UK. Does the average #BBC executive, especially those who deemed #Miriam O’Reilly too old for #Countryfile, know anything about the current demographics of the UK? Do they, for instance know that the over-50s are the fastest growing demographic in Britain? That in 2000, there were almost 20 million over-50s, and by 2025 there are expected to be nearly 27 million. According to a 2006 survey by Datamonitor, “companies fail to notice the over-50s because they are ‘obsessed with youth’”. According to Datamonitor, a reason why companies fail to acknowledge the importance of this demographic “could be the age of those responsible for marketing – about half of staff in advertising agencies are aged under 30”.
Could the same age-blindness exist at the BBC where executives are responsible for who is seen on our screens and seem not to understand that those members of their audience who are over 50, are very happy to see other people – including women – on the screen who are also over 50, and that, actually, an endless parade of clones – polished, nubile, 25-year-old, blondes with impossibly white teeth and cascading hair – may actually be a turn-off for many viewers, who prefer professional, slick, well informed presenters who make TV enlightening, informative and interesting, which, surely, is what it is all about. That does not mean, of course, that young presenters are unprofessional or ill-informed, but that they don’t have the monopoly on appeal on our TV screen.
It also does not mean the #Rip-Off Britain triumvirate don’t all look great, too. They do – they look groomed, glamorous and gorgeous. Of course, looking that way takes a bit more work as we get older, ensuring we have the right hair-cut, the right clothes and the right make-up – but that’s what 60&Sensational is for; to help every woman over 50 look fabulous and never frumpy.