The BBC has shut down James Martin’s claims he was rejected for jobs with them due to his accent.
The presenter, who hails from Yorkshire, said he was rejected for two unnamed hosting roles with them prior to leaving ‘Saturday Kitchen’ in 2016.
James had told the Daily Mail: “I can’t say what jobs they were, but it was before I moved to ITV. It happened more than two years ago. I know because they told me [it was because of my accent].
“That’s not the reason I left. But you’d be wrong if you said they don’t discriminate against people because of their accents.”
The BBC responded by pointing out all the work he had done with them during his career.
“The BBC has a huge variety of presenters with different accents and from different backgrounds,” a spokesperson said.
“The fact that James presented ‘Saturday Kitchen’, ‘Home Comforts’, ‘Kitchen Invaders’, ‘Stately Suppers’, ‘Operation Meet the Street’, ‘Operation Hospital Food’, ‘Ready Steady Cook’, ‘The Box’, ‘The Real Italian Job’ and appeared in numerous others shows for the BBC shows that we have no problem with his accent.”
James was heavily linked to the ‘Top Gear’ reboot after Chris Evans’s disastrous stint at the helm of the BBC Two motoring show, but Matt LeBlanc later took the role of lead presenter.
As recently as last year, he admitted he would still jump at the chance to join the series, but appeared to hint at underlying issues between him and bosses.
He told HuffPost UK: “It’s an iconic show and I love my cars. I’m a collector now and have been collecting for 20-odd years, and I’d love to be a part of it.
“But the telephone call won’t happen, I don’t think.”
He added: “You need to have a word with people who are higher up the ladder than me.”
After James left ‘Saturday Kitchen’ two years ago to reclaim his weekends, he went on to launch a rival show, ‘Saturday Morning With James Martin’, on ITV last year.