John McCririck ‘alienating’ and ‘very offensive’

Channel 4 executive says audience poll was ‘one of the worst pieces of research I have ever seen regarding a presenter’

John McCririck arriving at London Central Employment Tribunal in Holborn, central London where he is accusing Channel 4 and IMG of unfair dismissal. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

John McCririck arriving at London Central Employment Tribunal in Holborn, central London where he is accusing Channel 4 and IMG of unfair dismissal. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

 

Flamboyant racing pundit John McCririck was dumped from a high-profile role on Channel 4 because he was “alienating” and “very offensive”, an employment tribunal has been told.

Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt said a talent tracker study on how he went down with audiences was “one of the worst pieces of research I have ever seen regarding a presenter”.

McCririck (73), who was dropped from Channel 4’s line-up, is accusing his former employers of age discrimination.

Channel 4 and IMG Media deny the claims.

Ms Hunt said the broadcaster wanted to freshen up its racing coverage and appeal to a wider audience.

“The views he had been shouting from the rooftops on everything from women to low-level misogyny – I found it slightly depressing,” she added.

She said she was “gobsmacked” to hear that McCririck insisted on calling a colleague “the female” and that his headline-grabbing appearances on reality TV shows such as Big Brother and Celebrity Wife Swap were potentially damaging his image as a sports presenter.