- BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Cerys Matthews refuses to play songs by privileged stars
- Claimed public school attendees had leg-ups that need to be accounted for
- Aims to feature more females and people from working-class backgrounds
The BBC has slapped down DJ Cerys Matthews after she suggested public school-educated artists would be filtered out of her Radio 6 show.
Mrs Matthews said she would take into consideration that people educated at public school had had 'so many leg-ups' in life, and 'act on it'.
Conservative MPs slammed her comments, accusing her of 'class warfare' and being 'overtly political' with her radio show. One said she should resign from the BBC.
The DJ said: 'You have to try and listen to everything and take into consideration where one person has had more of a leg-up than somebody else, and act on it – that’s what I think.
'When I programme my radio show, I don’t only want to play Anglo-American music.
'Because the bigger the pool of music and artists, the better the quality – not tokenism, but you must take into account who’s had the leg ups. Because if you’ve been through the public school system, you’ve had so many leg ups.'
Today the BBC said: 'No artists are banned from Radio 6 Music and at no point did Cerys suggest that any were banned from her show.'
Mrs Matthews herself took to Twitter to claim she had been misrepresented, and hadn't banned anyone.
'Because the bigger the pool of music and artists, the better the quality – not tokenism, but you must take into account who’s had the leg ups. Because if you’ve been through the public school system, you’ve had so many leg ups.
'I think it should be more females but also more people from working class backgrounds, and more people from all walks of life. Simply – that’s the ideal, that’s progress for me.'
That rules out the likes of Coldplay, whose lead singer, Chris Martin, went to Sherborne, Radiohead (Abingdon) and the Clash's Joe Strummer (City of London Freemen's School).
Tory MP Philip Davies attacked the idea and called on Cerys Matthews to resign from the BBC.
'If she doesn't want to be accused of being a hypocrite she might want to resign from her role at the BBC.
'For goodness sake, the director general of the BBC is Lord Hall. To be perfectly honest the radio stations should be based on the best music not used as an avenue for fighting class warfare.
'If there was a pop chart for bad ideas this would go straight to the top.'
Nigel Evans, the Conservative MP for Ribble Valley, agreed that Mrs Matthews' policy was a form of class warfare.
He said: '[The BBC] is paid for by the licence fee and for her to be overtly political is clearly absurd. For her to take a stand on a form of education, it's discrimination is what she will be practicing.
'I hope that she jumps her policy quickly or the BBC should jump her. It's actually almost a hate issue that she's involved in here, she clearly despises people who have been publicly educated.
'Quite frankly for the listeners they don't care if they're publicly educated, all they care about is the music and that's all she should care about.'
MP Henry Smith added: 'I think people should be judged on their talents and temperament, not the background of where their parents may have sent them to school.
'Some sort of synthetic class war shouldn't be allowed to stifle British creativity which is world leading.'
Cerys is the former singer of Britpop band Catatonia. She joined the BBC in 2008.
The DJ, who went to Ysgol Bro Gwaun, a comprehensive secondary in Fishguard, North Pembrokeshire, said she wanted 'more people from all walks of life' to feature on her show in the future.
Her comments have been criticised online by outraged Twitter users.
One individual wrote: '#BBC Radio 6 Music DJ?? #CerysMatthews has made the astonishing disclosure that she refuses to play records by pop stars she considers over-privileged.
'So being a talented musician doesn't matter, sack the dozy luvvie cow.'
Another added: 'Oh ok. I lived in a council house, went to a comp and got CSE science grade 2. I've been trying to learn the ukulele and can play three cords, can I come on 6 music ?'
One said: 'Pathetic class-warism. What's the correlation between going to private schools and making it in the music business? Is there any? If you cared about equality, it would make more sense to ban records by good-looking artists.'
A survey from 2010 by The Word magazine found that at least 60 per cent of chart pop artists went to private schools, but 20 years before this figure was just one per cent.
At the time, the magazine's editor Mark Ellen said: 'Once upon a time, the rich weren't interested in the popular arts. If they dabbled in the performing arts at all, it would be within the highbrow ghettos: opera, ballet, classical theatre.
'In the past ten years, the well-heeled young have decided it would be a jolly hoot to annex popular culture en masse.'