BBC Autumnwatch star says he is being moved from show as he”s too “white and middle class”

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Hughes-Games joined the hugely popular Autumnwatch and Springwatch team in 2009 but in an interview with the Radio Times, the presenter said he was to be replaced by the corporation which was looking to create a more “diverse” team.

Hughes-Games, who presents the show alongside Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham,said he understood the BBC’s drive to try out new faces on screen.

He said: “Whatever I may think, it’s crucially important that high-profile shows like the Watches reflect diversity.

“Chris, Michaela and I are all white and middle class, so a more diverse team must present some of the films that go out.

“It’s hard for me because it’s my living, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, ‘No, that’s the right decision, it has to be like that.’”

However, the BBC said Hughes-Games is due to take full part in the new series of Autumnwatch and said any decisions about his role would be nothing to do with diversity.

The BBC said: “Conversations about his role are ongoing.”

Two weeks ago comedian Jon Holmes claimed he was axed from BBC Radio 4’s hit programme The Now Show after bosses told him they were looking for more “diversity’ and to cast more women.

The award-winning comedian announced on Twitter that he had been sacked after 18 years on the show.

He tweeted: “Sad to announce I’ve beeb axed from @BBCNowShow as ‘we want to recast with more women and diversity’ Tsk. And I didn’t even punch a producer.”

He went on to say: “Should I, as a white man (through no fault of my own), be fired from my job because I am a white man?”

He has also claimed many showbiz stars had contacted him to share their experiences of “positive discrimination”. 

The 47-year-old revealed a woman presenter was given a job but later told she was ‘too white and middle class’ for the job. He also said an agent had been told their ‘perfect for the role’ client couldn’t be cast because producers were ordered to ‘cast someone Asian’. 

Hughes-Games’ interview comes just weeks after a leaked BBC memo from television bosses revealed diversity quotas.

The email said 15 per cent of reporters, presenters and contributors on TV needed to be from a BAME (Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority) background. 

In April this year the BBC announced its aim for women to make up half their staff by 2020. While while lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people should hit the eight per cent mark.

The BBC has said the comedian”s contract had lapsed and that the decision not to renew it was a creative one, unrelated to diversity quotas.

The new cast for the Now Show will be hired based on merit.

A BBC spokesman said at the time: “While the Government”s new charter for the BBC does set us diversity targets, we always hire presenters on merit.

“We’d like to thank Jon Holmes for his contribution, but our comedy shows are constantly evolving and it was simply time to create opportunities for new regulars when The Now Show returns this autumn.”