BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker Apologises After Show Fails To Use Female Professor's Correct Title

"When coming on to give an expert opinion, titles matter."

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker has apologised to Professor Claire Hopkins, after the show referred to one of her male peers by his official title, but didn’t give her the same distinction.

Professor Hopkins was a guest during a pre-recorded section of Wednesday’s BBC Breakfast, where she discussed her work campaigning for the loss of sense and smell as a result of Covid-19 to be taken more seriously.

After the show, she wrote on Twitter about the key difference between how she and a male colleague, Professor Nirmal Kumar – who was interviewed live by Dan and co-host Louise Minchin – were introduced.

Alongside two screengrabs, she wrote: “Spot the difference... delighted to take part in an interview on BBC Breakfast this morning with my colleague. We are both Professors and Consultant ENT surgeons… why don’t we get treated in the same way?”

Shortly afterwards, Dan shared a public response to Professor Hopkins, writing: “Good morning Professor. First of all, apologies. I have spoken to my boss. Not sure what happened as we are normally very tight on titles of guests.

“What I can say, and it’s not an excuse, is that you were in the package and he was a live guest off the back so the ‘astons’ – as we call them – would have been made by different people.

“It still shouldn’t have happened though. Thank you for flagging it up, thanks for your hard work and hopefully we’ll get to speak to you again soon.”

Responding to Dan’s apology, Professor Hopkins wrote back: “Thanks for the apology. Same thing happened when you introduced me during a live interview last year too, when you spoke with ‘Claire and Professor Semple’.

“When coming on to give an expert opinion, titles matter. Everywhere else, I’d be delighted if [you] called me Claire.”

A BBC spokesperson later told HuffPost UK: “We have contacted Professor Hopkins and explained it was human error.”

BBC Breakfast airs every weekday from 6am on BBC One.


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