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Ruth Langsford recalls fighting sexism and threatening a co-worker early in her career

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·4-min read
Ruth Langsford says that she's fed up of assertive women being called bossy (Image: Getty Images)
Ruth Langsford says that she's fed up of assertive women being called bossy (Image: Getty Images)

As a young transmission assistant just starting out in her career, Ruth Langsford was learning a new trade that would eventually leader her into presenting, however, it wasn’t all plain sailing.

Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Langsford was recalling her time working for the regional station, Television South West, in Plymouth, Devon.

As the assistant it was her job to make tea for the VT tele-cine engineers who worked next to her control room.

“I used to make like 12 mugs of tea at nine o'clock and 11 o'clock or something,” she told Kate Thornton.

Read more: Ruth Langsford almost quit TV career after sister's death

“I remember taking this tray round and a guy pinched my arse and I put the tray down. I slammed his tea down, so it slopped.

“And I said, 'If you ever touch me again? I'll break your f****** arm' and I marched out.”

Listen: Ruth Langsford recalls her early days as TV presenter and why working with Eammon is ‘dangerous’

Langsford, who presents This Morning with her husband Eamonn Holmes, said after her initial bravado, fear set in.

“Then I was really scared,” she said. “I thought 'It just came out, it just came out!' and I'd slopped tea and I thought, ‘I bet that tea has gone into one of those keyboards or some machines and it's broken’.

“I was really scared, and I was waiting. I didn't tell anybody what happened. I just came back and slammed back into our control room and sat down and the whole evening, I thought ‘That door is going to slide open in a minute and somebody is going to go, 'How dare you speak to him?'”

Thankfully, Langsford didn’t get chastised for her behaviour, which she believes came down to the fact that her assailant was shocked by her standing up to him.

“I think he was probably so shocked I said it,” she told Thornton. “Maybe he was used to doing the old ‘feely bum bum’ and nobody saying anything, but he wasn't banking on me!”

Read more: Ruth Langsford still cries in the shower over sister's death

Langsford has previously spoken out on Loose Women about the ‘casting couch’ and how a director once invited her out to dinner to speak about a role. The presenter, who was in her 20s at the time, said it wasn’t until he took her back to his hotel room that she knew he probably wasn’t interested in her professionally.

The Loose Woman presenter, who has been married for 10 years to Eamonn Holmes, recalled a sexist incident early on in her career (Image: Getty Images)
The Loose Woman presenter, who has been married for 10 years to Eamonn Holmes, recalled a sexist incident early on in her career (Image: Getty Images)

On the show she said: “He didn't really talk too much about the programme, so at the end of the meal, he said ‘Oh yes, well listen why don't we go back to my hotel, we'll have a coffee and we'll talk about it there.’

“And it wasn't until I was up in his room, and he shut the door and opened the mini bar and said ‘What can I get you to drink?’ I suddenly thought ‘Oh you stupid, stupid girl. This is not about a job, clearly at this point.'”

Read more: More than half of women believe sexism has held them back at work

While Langsford, who turned 60 this year, believes that things are improving for women in the industry, she feels there is still some way to go.

“You wouldn't say a man is bossy,” she said to Thornton. “If you ask them to do something… ‘She's so bossy’. If that was a guy, it would be ‘So dynamic, and amazing, one to watch!’

“Why is that? I think women have had to fight that - and still do to some extent - though not as much obviously and it will keep changing.”

Hear Ruth Langsford talk about her relationship with Eammon Holmes and why she’s starting a new chapter of her life at 60. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.

Watch: Ruth Langsford shares This Morning behind-the-scenes moment