The BBC has refuted newspaper claims it stipulated that a new presenter for The One Show must be from an “ethnically diverse background”.

The Sun today reported that a casting producer, working on behalf of the broadcaster, had issued an email stating that the BBC was looking for a new presenter who “must be from a minority background, male and older than 30”.

Current One Show hosts Alex Jones and Matt Baker

Current One Show hosts Alex Jones and Matt Baker

It added that the job would “ideally” go to someone who had a regional accent, and that they were “eager to see people who may live in the North West”.

But a BBC spokesperson told Prolific North that the casting call was for a freelance reporter and that it was simply trying to encourage “a wider pool of people”.

She said: “This was not a job advert and we’re not looking for a new host of the One Show. We use dozens of freelance reporters on the One Show each year and we are seeking to encourage a wider pool of people to consider making a contribution. All casting decisions are based on merit.”