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Sunday, 30 January 2011

How Vanessa Trod On Beverley’s Dreams

Article first published as ‘How Vanessa Trod On Beverley’s Dreams’ on Technorati.

When two nice Jewish girls meet while working in a frenetic newsroom it doesn’t take long for the sparks to fly.

Beverley.NesbitSo when tyro journo Beverley Nesbit of Whitefield, Greater Manchester won a week’s work experience with star broadcaster Vanessa Feltz she should have realised she would have a tough time.

It happened when Beverley (19), daughter of Paul Nesbit, a former Mayor of Bury, Lancashire and his wife Shirley, bid £120.00 at a student  charity auction in December 2009 arranged by Saskia Kurer, Vanessa’s daughter, as a step to a career in the media. 

But it was not until July last year that she had her placement and according to The Daily Mail, her week on Miss Feltz’s BBC Radio 2 show was one of the worst of her life. She accused the broadcaster of making her life a misery and of forcing her to write  a 2,000-word essay about the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats.

‘I basically paid to be abused by Vanessa Feltz for a week,’ she claims.

Now, says the MailOnline, the BBC has launched an investigation into abuse of work experience opportunities by senior employees and told staff that placements should be given on merit, not sold at auction by broadcasters’ children.

The second-year film student at Manchester Metropolitan University claims that “Vanessa was really brash, not like the bubbly person you see on television, but in a rude and arrogant way. She barely acknowledged me, and when she did she said everything I had done was rubbish.’

Vanessa.Feltz.02When Miss Nesbit was told to ‘cold call’ potential guests for the show and displayed nervousness, she claims Miss Feltz, 48, told her to ‘grow up’.

The crisis reached its height when Beverley interrupted a conversation that Miss Feltz, a Cambridge University English Literature honours graduate, was having about Yeats.

Miss Nesbit says: ‘Vanessa turned to me and asked: “Beverley, which is your favourite poem by Yeats?”

‘I’m not a stupid person, but I was honest and told her I’d never heard of Yeats and didn’t have a favourite. She was really rude and said something like ‘that’s ridiculous, write me a 2,000 word essay on Yeats by tomorrow’. I thought she was joking.”

But the next day, Miss Nesbit claims that Miss Feltz asked for the essay. When she explained that she had not written it as she had no computer and had thought her remark had been a joke, Ms Feltz rejoined that she should have used a library and demanded that she pen the essay immediately.

Although reduced to tears and anxious to return home, Beverley completed the week. Vanessa Feltz has refused to comment on the episode but a member of  her production team at BBC Radio London confirmed they were aware of Miss Nesbit’s complaints.

  • Textual Note: Although not an august Oxbridge graduate, I too am a poetry fan and enjoy Yeats’s work. Here’s the poem which is the source for the headline of this post:

“He Wishes For The Cloths Of HeavenW.B.Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”


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