‘BBC star flashed me as I read the news’: Angela Rippon, 74, reveals ‘highly respected’ male colleague unzipped his trousers and pretended to expose himself while she was on air
- The presenter said she felt ‘disrespected’ by the prank on the Nine O’Clock News
- She said she was the target of the prankster while alone in the studio
- Rippon told the story on Radio 4’s The Reunion programme
She once caused a sensation by baring her legs for a dance on The Morecambe And Wise Show, but Angela Rippon has revealed that risqué pranks on the Nine O’Clock News were far more shocking.
The presenter, 74, told how a ‘highly respected’ male colleague – who she declined to name – unzipped his trousers and pretended to expose himself, while she was reading the news live on air.
Recalling how she felt ‘disrespected’, Rippon said she was the target of the prankster while alone in the studio, while a cameraman and floor manager worked in a control room behind her.
TV presenter Angela Rippon has revealed how a ‘highly respected’ male colleague unzipped his trousers and pretended to expose himself while she was reading the news
Rippon once caused a sensation by baring her legs for a dance on The Morecambe And Wise Show
‘One of my male colleagues came into the studio while I was reading the Nine O’Clock News live in front of ten million people. I assumed he was coming in with a script,’ she told today’s Radio 4 The Reunion programme.
‘Out of the corner of my eye I realised that he was unzipping his flies and as he was doing that, there was something white in his hand being wiggled around.
‘I got to the end and we went into a film, and I looked across and what he had actually done was unzipped his flies and taken out the bottom end of his shirt. Obviously I was supposed to think that he was wiggling his penis at me.’
Rippon, who drew gasps from fellow guests Julia Somerville, Sue Lawley and Jan Leeming, joined the BBC flagship news show in 1975 but said she never complained about the incident, fearing a protest could backfire on her.
The presenter said the year she spent presenting the Nine O’Clock News was ‘the one unhappy year of my whole professional career’
She said: ‘I was angry because I felt that this was so disrespectful. I have never named him and I won’t, not even now, but he was one of the BBC’s highly respected reporters at the time. I didn’t ever report him because at the time we [women] were very much in the minority.’
Rippon went on: ‘I think he probably would have got a slap on the wrist [rather than the sack] and, within no time at all, it would have gone around the newsroom that Rippon can’t take a joke.
‘I always feel I got my revenge, if you like, because I didn’t react.’
Fellow guest Sue Lawley, 72, confirmed that the BBC newsroom could be a ‘macho’ and ‘quite bullying’ place in the 1970s and 1980s.
She said that the year she spent presenting the Nine O’Clock News was ‘the one unhappy year of my whole professional career’.
She also recalled the moment four women stormed the newsroom while she was reading the Six O’Clock News in 1988, in protest at the Clause 28 legislation on homosexuality introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government.
Lawley said she initially feared she was being kidnapped.
The Reunion is on BBC Radio 4 today at 11.15am.