moiraThe BBC is reported to be offering new contracts to women aged over 50, following suggestions of discrimination against older females employed by the corporation.

It is believed the move has come after viewers voiced their anger when newsreader Moira Stuart was dropped from her role after reading the news for some 30 years.

A similar outcry was witnessed when Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, 66, was replaced on the panel by former winner Alesha Dixon, 30, despite the latter having no formal dance experience.

The BBC is now believed to be in talks with Julia Somerville, 62, Fiona Armstrong, 53, and Zeinab Badawi, 50, about signing a deal with the media group.

“I’m delighted that the BBC has gone for such talent. They are all supremely qualified to interview, say, Hillary Clinton one minute and Clint Eastwood the next,” said Joan Bakewell, broadcaster and government adviser on older women, commenting on the news.

Currently, Maxine Mawhinney is the only female BBC news presenter in her fifties.