Here is the news ... I cannot work with that woman, so I quit
ONE of the BBC's longest-serving newsreaders has quit after 37 years with the corporation, saying he could not work with his co-presenter.
Philip Hayton has left halfway through a one-year contract because of a "clash" with his BBC News 24 co-host, Kate Silverton.
Yesterday, he said he could no longer countenance working with Silverton, 35, on the weekday morning show because of their "incompatibility".
"We did four hours of live TV every day and you have to like each other," said Hayton. "I think incompatibility sums it up, and I don't think she would disagree with that."
Hayton, 57, who first became a household name presenting the Six and Nine O'Clock News programmes on BBC One, was last seen on screen a week ago.
His departure came as a surprise to his BBC managers, who believed they had persuaded him to give the working relationship another chance.
Silverton, a psychology graduate from Durham University, was a corporate financier for an investment bank in the City before deciding on a career in the media, and she has risen swiftly through the ranks.
She used to present BBC daytime makeover shows such as Big Strong Boys and Housecall. She has also worked for Sky News and BBC Radio Five Live, and has co-hosted BBC One's Breakfast show with Dermot Murnaghan.
However, her glamorous image has attracted condescending comments at times, with one critic describing her as looking "not only as if she had come fresh from a beauty salon but as if she usually worked in one".
Hayton, who also had his own Sunday afternoon slot on BBC News 24, said this was the first time he had ever clashed with a co-presenter, having worked previously on that channel with Joanna Gosling and Anna Jones.
"Perhaps I was spoiled, because we got on wonderfully well and I went to work with a spring in my step," he said.
"I have been at the BBC for 37 years and it is the first time I have had a problem like this. Maybe it's just the law of averages."
However, Silverton's agent, Alex Armitage, said: "I think this says more about Philip than it does about Kate."
He went on: "This has come out of the blue - Kate had absolutely no idea about it.
"She has never had a problem with any other co-presenter. In fact, people seem to like to present with her because she's such a good journalist and such a good presenter."
Mr Armitage said Silverton was an experienced news journalist despite her background on shows such as Big Strong Boys. "Anyone who thinks you can't do entertainment as well as news is a dreadful snob," he said.
A spokeswoman for the BBC, wished Mr Hayton well and said he would be welcome to return on a freelance basis at any time, but she was also keen to defend Ms Silverton. "Kate is an incredibly professional and popular presenter and we are delighted she is part of the BBC News 24 team," she said.
It is not the first time Silverton has been involved in a clash with an on-screen colleague.
In 2003, she allegedly hit Rod Liddle, the former programme editor of Radio 4's Today during a pilot for a new political show.
"I made a stupid comment about the disabled which Kate rightly took exception to," Liddle said at the time. "We took the fight out of the pilot. It's good to get these things out before we go on air. My admiration for Kate knows no bounds."
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