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Selina Scott

Selina Scott
Born Selina Mary Scott
(1951-05-13) 13 May 1951
Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality English
Occupation Journalist, newsreader, television producer, television presenter, author
Known for The Sunday Post, North Tonight, News at Ten, Breakfast Time, The Clothes Show, Wogan, West 57th, Sky News, The Selina Scott Show, Sunday Mail (Scotland), Sky Arts 1

Selina Mary Scott (born 13 May 1951) is an English television presenter, who was a major figure in the launch of breakfast TV in the UK.

Scott first came to public notice as a newsreader on ITV’s News at Ten during the Falklands War, and then became a presenter on the BBC's Breakfast Time programme with Frank Bough and Nick Ross in 1983. In the U.S., she worked on a current affairs programme for CBS, before joining Rupert Murdoch's satellite channel Sky.

Today Scott lives on a farm in her native Yorkshire, processing mohair into fashion garments. She has campaigned for animal welfare, better care for the elderly, and against institutional ageism in regard to older women.


  • Background and early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Charitable patronage 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Background and early life

Scott was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1951, the eldest of five children. Her late father, Charles,[1] was a police sergeant and her mother, Betty (née Bumby), was formerly a journalist from Ryedale, North Yorkshire.[2]

She completed her secondary education at the Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, where she was head girl, whilst living in Saltburn-by-the-Sea.[3] She then continued her studies at the University of East Anglia, reading English and American Literature.


Initially resisting the temptation to continue a family trait working in journalism Scott succumbed and went to work on The Sunday Post in Dundee, Scotland, for two years. She then took up the post of press officer for the Tourist board on the Isle of Bute. She then began broadcasting after being hired by Ted Brocklebank, then Head of News and Current Affairs, later a Tory MSP, as a reporter and presenter with Grampian TV in 1978. She made her television debut on the nightly news programme Grampian Today, presenting from a North Sea oil platform and at the summit of Cairn Gorm. She later became one of the launch team for North Tonight.

Several months after North Tonight began, Scott, at the age of 29, progressed to national television, appearing first as a newsreader on ITV's News at Ten. In 1982 at the outbreak of the Falklands War Scott became the Forces' pin-up girl, causing viewing figures to soar.[4] She then went on to launch breakfast television in the UK, joining the BBC's Breakfast Time programme in January 1983. She presented the show with Frank Bough and Nick Ross. Ironically, Scott had been hired by ITN to replace Anna Ford who had defected to launch ITV's breakfast television channel, TV-am. Before TV-am began broadcasting in February 1983, Scott had already quit ITN to launch the BBC's rival show. She later presented The Clothes Show, and was a guest host on the chat show, Wogan (named after its regular host Terry Wogan). Scott crossed the Atlantic in 1988, joining the US channel CBS and hosting a current affairs programme, West 57th.[5]

Back in the UK she joined Rupert Murdoch's satellite channel Sky, co-anchoring its 1992 election night coverage with Sir David Frost.[6]

Scott has also produced documentaries on royal figures in Europe including A Prince Among Islands, a profile of Prince Charles,[7] a film with King Juan Carlos of Spain (which achieved record viewing figures for a documentary in Spain) and The Return of the King, which involved travelling with King Constantine of Greece after 25 years of exile.

By 1995 in the US she had her own chat show on NBC. By 1997 she was back in the UK, signing a contract with Sky reputedly for £1,000,000.[8] She anchored the breakfast programme, later switching to the 5 pm news. Latterly she had her own chat show but this was halted after eight weeks.

In 2003, she moved from Perthshire, Scotland, to her native North Yorkshire,[9] after buying a 200-acre (0.81 km2) farm near Ampleforth to accommodate her 27 Angora goats. The fleeces are washed, spun and dyed, producing mohair wool for her farm business. The wool is used to create socks for the gun makers James Purdey and Sons, and she has her own company designing and creating socks.[10] Through this venture she has greatly enhanced her role as a Countryside Custodian[11] while living in an area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[12][13]

In October 2006, Scott was chosen to launch the new season's fashion campaign for Country Casuals,[14] now known as CC.

In Spring 2007, Kingfisher Productions hired Scott to co-host Tales from the Countryside.[15] The first series showed Scott's own working farm and her herd of Angoras being shorn through to the eventual production of the socks.[16] A second series was commissioned and shown in spring 2008 featuring unique rural stories.

In 2007, Scott appeared as one of the dog handlers on the Julia Sawalha in the final.

July 2007 saw Scott presenting the BBC's Animal Rescue Live Show daily from Battersea Dog's Home in central London, co-hosting with Matt Baker. Running daily for three weeks, the programme highlighted the plight of many animals at the home appealing to the public to consider re-homing.

In August 2008, Scott announced her intention to sue Five, a UK television station, for age discrimination.[17] She claimed Five reneged on an agreement for her to cover Natasha Kaplinsky's maternity leave because she was "too old". Scott hired Simon Smith of Schillings,[18] and Five denied the claim. A preliminary hearing began on 24 September 2008 with a full five-day hearing scheduled for December 2008.[19] On 5 December 2008 she won, with Five issuing a public apology and a confidential out-of-court financial settlement.[20] It was later reported that she accepted the offer, despite publicly declaring she would have her day in court, as her father had become seriously ill in December. He died on Christmas Eve after a stroke, and she wanted to be at his side and felt unable to continue the action as planned.[21][22]

In April 2009, Scott wrote a two-piece article for the Daily Mail documenting her experience of ageism, legal action and its coincidence with her father's deteriorating health and death. This piece also records her view of the National Health Service and what she believed were its failings in caring for him.[23][24]

In October 2008, Scott presented a four-part series for the Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; an admirer of Seago's work.[25][26]

In a departure from broadcasting, Scott has written her first autobiographical book, A Long Walk in the High Hills: The Story of a House, a Dog and a Spanish Island.

Following her successful claim against ageism, Scott has become a vocal lobbyist for the cause. Age UK and Equal Justice, a legal firm, commissioned Scott to compile a report investigating the employment of women over 50 years old at the BBC. The report was finally delivered to Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust and Jeremy Hunt, the shadow Culture and Media Secretary in April 2010. In summary the report accuses the BBC of institutional ageism against older women.[27]

September 2010 saw a return for Scott to the BBC reading the news on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 for two weeks, deputising for fellow veteran newsreader Moira Stuart. Evans invited her after purchasing her socks online and broadcasting this to his audience. They later met in May at the Sony Radio Awards in London where Evans was hosting and Scott presented an award, again showing the guests he was wearing her socks.[28][29]

In 2011, Scott again returned to work for Sky Arts presenting a 5 part documentary series Treasure Houses of Britain.[30] The series charts the history of 5 of the best known historical houses in Britain: Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth House, Burghley House, Holkham Hall and Boughton House. It is now available on DVD.[31]

In March 2012, the University of Hull announced it had awarded an honorary doctorate (PhD) to Scott for services to journalism, to be styled as a Doctor of Letters.[32]

Personal life

Scott is from a family of journalists: her mother Betty was a journalist and her grandfather, George Bumby, was the editor of the Malton Herald in Malton, North Yorkshire.

She is the eldest of five children: her brother is Robin, and her sisters Angela, Vanessa, and Fiona, the last a fine art portrait artist, also based in Ampleforth, who regularly exhibits at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Exhibition in London. In April 2007 Fiona exhibited a long-awaited portrait of her famous sister. Selina purchased the painting.[6][33]

She refuses to discuss most aspects of her private life and her marital status is unknown.[34] She has two dogs: Nip, a female collie cross and Kiki, a German shepherd she rescued from Majorca. Leisure pursuits include angling,[35] countryside walking,[36] wildlife conservation and countryside management.[37]

Continuing her interest in literature, Scott became the Patron of the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society based in Malton, North Yorkshire, from where Dickens took inspiration for parts of A Christmas Carol.[38]

In July 2015, Scott revealed during BBC Radio 4's One to One programme, while presenting a three-part series on the topic of ghosts and spirits, that she herself believes in ghosts, saying of one interviewee that he "came to see me in my north Yorkshire farmhouse, where I have a suspicion that I too have a ghost."[39] In the first episode, Scott told her own "ghost story", featuring her pet dogs. "I used to leave them in my kitchen here at night time and go to bed, and they hated it, and would cry and howl and all the rest of it." One morning they had scratched at the doors to get out and one dog had blood on its mouth. "So I'm beginning to think that maybe in this part of the house, which is the oldest part of the house, there is something..."[40]

Charitable patronage


  1. ^ "TV star enters planning row". BBC News (BBC). 23 April 2003. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Branagan, Mark (2 September 2008). Too old' Selina Scott sues over lost TV deal"'". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Saltburn-by-the-sea, Cleveland, Cringing Cult of Celebrity". 8 May 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  4. ^ War and peace"'". Yorkshire Evening Post. 25 May 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Ness Org'
  6. ^ a b "Profile on Selina Scott: Age shall not wither her". Scotland on Sunday. 6 September 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  7. ^ 1995Filmed
  8. ^ McCann, Paul (22 April 1997). "Is Selina Scott really worth pounds 1m a year?". The Independent (London). Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "My Yorkshire: Selina Scott". Yorkshire Post. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  10. ^ 'Tales From The Country' Series – 2007
  11. ^ "Selina Scott proves it is possible to age gracefully and still turn heads as she walks the red carpet at the Olivier Awards". Daily Mail (London). 28 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  12. ^ 'National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Magazine'' Autumn 2006"'" (PDF). Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "TV star joins in fight to save trees". Yorkshire Post. 27 October 2006. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ "Country Girl Selina Scott Returns To Uk Television". Hello Magazine. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Selina Scott to sue Five over ageism". Digital Spy. 2 September 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "Top lawyers to fight over Selina Scott age claims". Yorkshire Post. 5 September 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | Express Yourself :: Here's the news girl who got Selina Scott's job". Express. 25 September 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  20. ^ Khan, Urmee (5 December 2008). "Selina Scott reaches six figure settlement with Channel Five over age discrimination". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  21. ^ "Selina Scott settled ageism row out of court because her father was dying". Telegraph (London). 29 December 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  22. ^ "Charles Scott". Yorkshire Post. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  23. ^ No I'm not too old': TV golden girl Selina Scott on the culture of ageism in our society"'". Daily Mail (London). 12 April 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  24. ^ Scott, Selina (13 April 2009). "'"My father was thrown out of the ward with the words: 'I want him out of here in half an hour. Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  25. ^ Eden, Richard (6 September 2008). "Mandrake: Edward Seago and Prince Philip's art". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  26. ^ "Selina Scott returns to our TV screens this October to reveal The Forgotten Painter" (Press Release). Sky Arts. 15 July 2008. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  27. ^ 4 April 2010The Times
  28. ^ Evans, Chris. "Moira's Off (But She'll Be Back in a Month)". BBC. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "FRANKIE SANDFORD'S TOO GLAM FOR RADIO". Daily Express. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  30. ^ "Treasure Houses of Britain – Sky Arts HD". 23 March 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  31. ^ "Buy online at and read reviews. Free delivery to UK and Europe!". Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  32. ^ Kay, Richard (27 March 2012). "William and Kate holiday with the in-laws: Couple hit ski resort with Duchess' parents". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  33. ^ "Portrait of the artist who captured her sister at last". Yorkshire Post. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  34. ^ "The Secret Life of Selina Scott – The features – SAGA Magazine June 2009". Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  35. ^ "Angling Personalities". 21 January 2001. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  36. ^ July 2006Country Walking
  37. ^ Gilchrist, Roderick (24 July 2008). "Interview: Selina Scott". Country Life. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  38. ^ "Dickens group unveils plan to trigger the best of times". Gazette & Herald. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Home". Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  43. ^ [3]

External links

  • Selina Scott website
  • The Observer (Tim Adams) TV go home 27 August 2006
  • Selina Scott Interview for Yorkshire Life Nov 2006
  • Fiona Scott Website
  • Selina Scott at the Internet Movie Database
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