|Born||Selina Mary Scott
13 May 1951
Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
|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 a former 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 and makes mohair socks. She has campaigned for animal welfare, better care for the elderly, and against institutional ageism in regard to older women.
Background and early life
Scott was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1951, the eldest of five children. Her late father, Charles, was a police sergeant and her mother, Betty (née Bumby), was formerly a journalist from Ryedale, North Yorkshire.
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. 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. 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.
Scott has also produced documentaries on royal figures in Europe including A Prince Among Islands, a profile of Prince Charles, 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. Also in 1995 she made a documentary critical of Donald Trump, starting a long-running feud between them. By 1997 she was back in the UK, signing a contract with Sky reputedly for £1,000,000. 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, 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 & Sons, and she has her own company designing and creating socks. This venture has, she says, greatly enhanced her role as a 'countryside custodian' while living in an area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In spring 2007, Kingfisher Productions hired Scott to co-host Tales from the Countryside. The first series showed Scott's own working farm and her herd of Angoras being shorn through to the eventual production of the socks. 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 BBC Two dog trials series The Underdog Show, screened to highlight the Dogs Trust Charity for rescued dogs. After six weeks of competition, she was voted the winner, beating singer Huey Morgan and actress Julia Sawalha in the final.
July 2007 saw Scott presenting the BBC's Animal Rescue Live daily from Battersea Dogs & Cats 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. 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, and Five denied the claim. A preliminary hearing began on 24 September 2008 with a full five-day hearing scheduled for December 2008. On 5 December 2008 she won, with Five issuing a public apology and a confidential out-of-court financial settlement. 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.
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.
In October 2008, Scott presented a four-part series for the Sky Arts channel & ITV, Edward Seago—The Forgotten Painter, shown in HD (high definition) and including interviews with and access to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; an admirer of Seago's work.
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.
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.
In 2011, Scott again returned to work for Sky Arts presenting a 5-part documentary series Treasure Houses of Britain. 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.
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.
She refuses to discuss most aspects of her private life and her marital status is unknown. She has two dogs: Nip, a female collie cross and Kendi, a German shepherd she rescued from Majorca. In 2010 her book about Majorca was published, A House in the High Hills, where she describes how Kendi came to live with her. Leisure pursuits include angling, countryside walking, wildlife conservation and countryside management.
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.
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." 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..."
- President: Malton Food Lovers Festival
- Patron: Charles Dickens (Malton) Society
- Patron: Animals Worldwide
- Patron: National Star College
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- Filmed 1995 Archived 28 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
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- 'Tales From The Country' Series – 2007 Archived 9 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
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- "''National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Magazine'' Autumn 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 20 September 2010.
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- [dead link]
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- "Charles Scott". Yorkshire Post. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "'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.
- 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.
- Eden, Richard (6 September 2008). "Mandrake: Edward Seago and Prince Philip's art". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "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.
- The Times 4 April 2010 Archived 11 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Evans, Chris. "Moira's Off (But She'll Be Back in a Month)". BBC. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
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- "The Secret Life of Selina Scott – The features – SAGA Magazine June 2009". Saga.inbro.net. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "Angling Personalities". Anglersnet.co.uk. 21 January 2001. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- Country Walking July 2006[dead link]
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- "Dickens group unveils plan to trigger the best of times". Gazette & Herald. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "BBC Radio 4 - One to One, Selina Scott talks to Yasmin Ishaq". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "BBC Radio 4 - One to One, Selina Scott speaks to Canon Paul Greenwell". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "Insights". Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "Home". Animalsworldwide.org. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- [dead link]