I’m A Celebrity: Victoria Derbyshire’s fear over ‘being too northern’ for BBC exposed

I’m A Celebrity: Victoria Derbyshire’s fear over ‘being too northern’ for BBC exposed

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The award-winning broadcaster is set to join the cast of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! this Sunday, in the 2,000-year-old Gwrych Castle, in Wales. Victoria served as inspiration to many with her heartbreaking video diaries that documented her battle with breast cancer. Some of her recordings went viral and were viewed millions of times. Victoria, who rose to fame as a radio presenter before she moved into TV, revealed her fear that the BBC would reject her due to her “northern” accent.

Victoria’s initial break into journalism was as the sole reporter for the Birmingham radio station BRMB – which she described as a “frightening and exhilarating” experience.

She was in direct competition with the BBC, who had “many more resources”, but it made her “determined to try to get the story first”.

After three more jobs in radio, she moved to the corporation’s London offices where she feared she wouldn’t fit in because of her northern roots – Victoria was raised in Lancashire.

She said: “This may have been self-imposed, but I thought, ‘I’d better not be too northern.’”

Victoria explained that during her first six months, she “hardly said anything” and when she did it “sounded quite posh”. 

She continued: “Maybe it was my perception of the BBC – well spoken, a lot of Oxbridge graduates, southern, male.”

In the years that followed, Victoria regretted that decision but admitted she knew some BBC workers who didn’t go “to university and are ashamed to reveal that”.

Despite her comments about higher education, she added: “There’s no point if everyone is the same, particularly in journalism.”

Victoria claimed to have experienced sexism but only to a “really minimal extent” during her time in the workplace – highlighted by one example about football.

She recalled one producer spoke to her “male co-presenter about a sports item” in an upcoming show. 

He told the unnamed individual: “You might want to bring Victoria in on this conversation.” 

While Victoria downplayed the experience, she added: “It was a subconscious decision that because it was football, the man would be doing the item.”

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She didn’t feel sexism had an “impact on her career” but recounted a story where she had to fight harder to prove herself over a male colleague and certain unwanted questions.

Victoria, a mother-of-two, added in her interview with The Guardian in 2014: “I don’t feel I’ve been discriminated against, apart from when people say, ‘How do you juggle work and kids?’ You wouldn’t ask that of a man.”

The veteran presenter claimed to be unaware of her “no-nonsense” interviewing style and felt she was just “asking questions”. 

She told the Royal Television Society in 2017: “The thing that gives me the most satisfaction is listening so carefully to what somebody is saying, or not saying.

“And [then] picking up on something that you are not necessarily expecting to come out of an interview.”

The driving-force behind her career was her “difficult” upbringing and she felt she could “be bold to anyone” because of it.

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Known for her tough-talks with politicians, Victoria stated that she explicitly disliked when Government officials dodged questions with “generalised terms”.

She said: “When you present them with an example of how something is hurting someone and their daily life, they don’t want to go down that individual route… I can get impatient then, if they’re talking in broad generalisation.”

Ahead of her appearance on I’m a Celebrity, Victoria told ITV that it was a “mad thrill adventure” that she wanted to “take part in”.

She claimed that her battle with breast cancer made her realise that “life is short” and spurred her decision to go on the show.

Victoria continued: “I’m now saying ‘Yes’ to stuff I wouldn’t have done previously. And if I don’t do my boys proud, I’ll never live it down!”

She joins Vernon Kay, Shane Richie, Beverley Callard, Hollie Arnold, AJ Pritchard, Jessica Plummer, Jordan North, Giovanna Fletcher, and Sir Mo Farah on the reality TV show.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! airs at 9pm on November 15 on ITV. 

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