Lauren Laverne has answered criticism of her turn as the Desert Island Discs host with an empowering message.
Desert Island Discs fans were left bereft when it was announced that Kirsty Young would permanantly step down from the show earlier this year. She had presented the beloved series for 12 years, with her soft Scottish tones playing out on our radios every Sunday since 2006.
But, we knew we were left in safe hands with Lauren Laverne, who has taken the reigns “for the forseeable future”. With a long radio career behind her, an extensive knowledge of music and an interviewing technique that makes you want to sit down with a cup of tea for a good natter — Laverne was the obvious choice.
Just to quickly add to her credentials: Laverne already hosts the hugely popular breakfast show on BBC Radio 6 and the Late Night Woman’s Hour on Radio 4.
But, for one newspaper, this isn’t enough. In the opinion piece (which we won’t be linking to), the reporter argues that Laverne has only been chosen because she is a woman with a regional accent. Apparantly, “white, posh men” have no chance of getting a gig like this anymore, because the BBC is “sucking up to PC idiocy”.
It’s true that the BBC has pledged that gender parity on-air will reach 50/50 across its radio stations by 2020. Just last week, we reported how the reaction to Zoe Ball’s recent ratings drop spoke volumes about the sexism against female radio DJs. But we only need to look at huge talents such as Annie Mac, Sara Cox and Annie Nightingale to understand the power of female voices on radio. And Laverne is no exception, as the strong support she has received proves.
Sharing an empowering message on Twitter on Friday (9 August), Laverne gave the best lesson in how to deal with such unsolicited criticism and turn it into a positive experience.
“Today has been an entirely unexpected inventory of who is in my corner,” she wrote.
“I have to say I couldn’t be happier. In fact it’s been the best day in ages. Isn’t it funny how it goes that way sometimes? Thanks very much to everyone who has been so kind.”
The reponse she has received speaks volumes…
There has also been an outpour of praise and support from fellow radio professionals, celebrities and high-profile listeners. This includes writer Caitlin Moran, Labour MP Harriet Harman and Edith Bowman.
And on that note: Laverne interviews castaway Jo Fairley on tomorrow’s show. We will definitely be tuning in.
Images: Getty, BBC