The attractive TV female debate

Natasha KaplinskyIn his excellent blog, And Another Thing, David Hepworth talks about Natasha Kaplinsky’s moment of tears in the new series of Who Do You Think You Are?

David wasn’t actually complaining about Kaplinsky, more about the inevitable crying, but the ensuing comments highlighted again the rancour that is often directed at the newsreader.

This kind of ties into the post I wrote about misogynistic films recently – will we ever get past the “attractive and intelligent” debate?

In recent years, there have been louder and louder voices directed against attractive women on TV. The cry is pretty much the same every time and it seems to revolve around good-looking women who, apparently, are ‘crap’ on TV.

Natasha Kaplinsky seems to be the latest to bear the brunt of this criticism – and I don’t really understand why.

To get to where she is in her career, she must have had to do certain things.

  • Work hard
  • Learn quickly
  • Be bloody good at her job

Clearly, she has been blessed with good looks, but this should always be secondary to her ability as a news journalist and broadcaster.

People seem to forget that, in the past, newsreaders weren’t employed for their journalistic skills. Famous names such as Richard Baker or Kenneth Kendall may have been extraordinarily good at reading the news, but they weren’t officially journalists.

In a modern TV era, you have to be able to read an Autocue well (not as easy as it sounds – just watch some of the guest presenters on Have I Got News For You?) and be involved in writing the copy in the first place.

Similarly, the likes of Cat Deeley, Davina McCall and Zoe Ball have been harangued for being attractive – gosh, what a crime?

Not every person on TV will appeal to every viewer, but surely people can stop for a second and appreciate that it is still a skill that they are good at.

The commonly-held view of “well, I could do that”, is bunkum. No, you couldn’t. It’s actually bloody hard to be good on TV. I’ve tried it and, admittely, have succeeded a couple of times, but I can think of one occasion when I was awful.

Those office workers, plumbers, call-centre operators, shop assistants who sit at home and bitch should remember that these TV presenters are just doing a job, the same as the viewers do. OK, so they’re paid more money for it, but that’s the same the world over. Jealousy’s not a nice thing, and even less nice when it’s aimed at people who don’t deserve it!

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