From Buerk to a Berk?

BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has obviously got a bit ‘hot under the collar’ about the prominence of women in the BBC and beyond and bemoans the fact that it is no longer a man’s world.

Is he just out of step or is he reflecting some widely held male fears/beliefs?Men are now ‘unemployable sperm donors’, says Buerk

Claire Cozens and agencies
Tuesday August 16, 2005

Former BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has risked provoking the ire of his bosses by claiming that that the “shift in the balance of power between the sexes” has gone too far, and men are now little more than “sperm donors”.

Buerk cited women in the top jobs in BBC broadcasting as an example, saying “these are the people who decide what we see and hear”, and said society needs to admit there is a problem.

“Life is now being lived according to women’s rules”, he told the Radio Times. “The traits that have traditionally been associated with men – reticence, stoicism, single-mindedness – have been marginalised.

“The result is that men are becoming more like women. Look at the men who are being held up as sporting icons – David Beckham and, God forbid, Tim Henman.”

The former Nine O’Clock News presenter said some changes have been for the good, but asked: “What are the men left with?”

“Men gauge themselves in terms of their career, but many of those have disappeared. All they are is sperm donors, and most women aren’t going to want an unemployable sperm donor loafing around and making the house look untidy. They are choosing not to have a male in the household.”

Buerk, whose views will also be screened in a Five series on personal hobbyhorses, Don’t Get Me Started!, this week, said that when he started making the programme he “came across what I considered a very personal example of the changes that have taken place”. “Almost all the big jobs in broadcasting were held by women – the controllers of BBC1 television and Radio 4 for example. These are the people who decide what we see and hear.”

The BBC1 controller, Lorraine Heggessey, has since left the BBC and been replaced by a man, Peter Fincham, while BBC4 is still run by Janice Hadlow.

Recently one of the BBC’s most influential former director generals, Alasdair Milne, sparked a furious response when he accused the corporation of producing “terrible” programmes and laid the bla