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BBC radio hosts spark fury saying they could ‘turn’ lesbian TV personality Clare Balding

BBC radio hosts spark fury saying they could ‘turn’ lesbian TV personality Clare Balding

Lesbian TV presenter Clare Balding was the subject of disrespectful remarks from two BBC radio hosts this weekend.

Colin Murray and Bob Mills were hosting the live quiz show Fighting Talk on Radio 5 Saturday evening when they began making disparaging remarks about Balding’s sexual orientation.

Broadcast before the 9 pm watershed that marks the broadcast shift into more adult material, Colin Murray said in the live broadcast: ‘Give me 20 minutes with her and I’m pretty sure I could turn around Clare Balding’.

Comedian Bob Mills then said Balding was a ‘horse woman’ who ‘appreciates power between her thighs’.

‘And we all know, there is no woman that can’t be cured’.

Balding, who is daughter of the Queen’s former horse trainer Ian Balding, had been covering Channel 4’s Epsom Derby over the weekend.

Mills said in a later broadcast that Channel 4 should get Balding to ‘present the Derby topless’.

Though Balding has not made a comment with regards to this incident, she had previously made a statement about people’s comments on her appearance.

She said: ‘I know that when I’m on TV, I’ll get a lot of comments about my personal appearance. It’s demoralising but it shouldn’t be destructive.’

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of leading LGBT rights group Stonewall, said the broadcast comments were ‘canteen bullying from the 1960s’.

He said: ‘We have warned the BBC for some time that there were problems in their live sports programmes because they have not formally trained staff in what is simply wrong.

‘The BBC should be doing better than this.’

‘Given that Clare is employed right across broadcasting and doing loads about the gender gap in sport single handed, we would have thought the BBC would have wanted to keep her happy.’

42-year-old Balding, who lives with her partner Alice Arnold, is a well-loved TV personality. She was awarded a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) last month for her coverage of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.