Clare Balding has broken her silence after she was accused of being an “insecure diva” who demanded copy control over an interview she did with Saga magazine.
Journalist Ginny Dougary claims the TV presenter insisted changes were made to the interview, replacing quotes with her own “self-promoting words”, including a line about how “lovely” the star was.
In an opinion piece in Sunday’s Guardian, Dougary explained that she asked for her byline to be removed after she was shown the final interview.
“How could one of its most recognised female broadcasters think it is acceptable to demand not only to see an article about her before publication, but then to change the words,” the journalist claims.
Saga magazine’s editor, Katy Bravery, has since issued a statement saying that the journalist was “mistaken in thinking that copy approval was given” and insisted that the interview was edited “with the full involvement of the writer”.
Taking to Twitter on Monday evening, Clare Balding joked that she would only ask to be referred to as “gorgeous - but never lovely”.
She tweeted: “Re the Saga saga, today has been an exercise in self-restraint. The editor has issued a statement clarifying that she asked for changes and I did not have copy approval.
“I would certainly never ask anyone to call me ‘lovely’. Gorgeous maybe — but never lovely!”
Saga added that it was the magazine editor’s view that the “original article did not cover the wide range of issues that Clare holds dear”.
They said: “Saga Magazine does not offer copy control, and interviews that require it are declined. In this case, quotes were checked for accuracy alone. New quotes were sourced to rebalance the article against deadline.”
Some journalists have come out in support for Dougary, including the Telegraph’s Arts and Entertainment Editor, Anita Singh, who tweeted: “I have a tale like this (not Clare Balding, and not for the Telegraph) and one day I will take SO much pleasure in telling it.”
Meanwhile, Heat magazine’s Boyd Hilton jumped to Clare Blading’s defence, tweeting: “We’ve interviewed Clare Balding load of times and she never asked for copy approval. Can’t imagine she’s suddenly insist on it.”