She was one of the biggest names in television before she gave up everything to live on a farm.She talks about her friendship with Princess Diana, the horror of tabloid harassment – and the extraordinary sexism she has was exposed

Selina Scott has come in from the cold. She lights a fire and makes herself a cup of tea – black, no sugar. The BBC’s former “golden girl” lives on a farm in North Yorkshire with a few dogs, a handful of rare Galloway – Belted cattle, a paddle made of ducks and swans and one or two otters. The room looks dark and dreary and the internet doesn’t work well, so we’ll try to zoom in. “I’ll take you to another room, Scott’s room is always talking still aristocratic as “rum”, but her voice is different from the old days Back then it was more of a stately caress, which was offset by a youthful giggle. Today her voice is deeper, smarter, if still with a touch of size Yorkshire roots of their childhood have resurfaced and firmly planted in the peaty ground

It’s been 40 years since she made a name for herself when she was 10 showing up news, followed by BBC Breakfast Time, The Clothes Show, The Selina Scott Show for NBC, West 57th magazine show for CBS, and one Short stint at Sky Scott was not an old presenter.She bore an uncanny resemblance to Princess Diana (or, as she prefers, the younger Diana bore an uncanny resemblance to her) and, like Diana, became the nation’s treasure. Like Diana, she became of the press haunted – like no other journalist has. And like Diana, she decided to leave it all behind at the height of her fame. Unlike Diana, she lived to tell the story

Over the years, the reasons for Scott’s departure from the BBC have gradually emerged in a drop of revelations. To Scott, the BBC was not a cozy, trustworthy aunt, but a hothouse of misogyny, gas light and harassment

This week, she takes a rare trip back to television on the BBC series Winter Walks, filmed last February, as she nods at hikers, exchanges notes with a fisherman who has caught a fat grayling, and shares Sunset a beer with locals running ferrets in Appletreewick But this is very a lonely Scott – a woman in her element in nature Her face is naturally weathered and still strikingly beautiful At 69, the main difference is her hair, which is the same now silver-gray is like the stone-built huts she passes by on the way

She’s more likely to fight ageism on TV these days than she will appear on it. She also fought to ban the export of live animals – the problem was enough to make her a Brexiter, “The European Union allows it, of course, because it is about the free movement of animals Boris Johnson has promised that the live export of animals will come to an end. She is hopeful, but skeptical. “Of course you can only close the front door to leave the back door open , and Northern Ireland and Ireland let the animals go ”

Scott, the eldest of five children, was born in Scarborough to a journalistic mother and a father of a police officer.Although she only had one brother, she grew up with a group of boys and always claimed she remembers them like them Had played cricket when she was little and a boy who refused to leave the crease because he was caught by her, a girl, “He wouldn’t go We had this big fight He had to go It wasn’t right In the end I got rid of him physically ”

She may have appeared calm on TV, but she says she was always a scrapper. Today she just put up with a farmer who parked his tractor in one of her fields for a game shoot. “We had an argument in the middle of it the field He said, “Where the hell should I park? I can’t park in the street And I said, “But you can park in the street. Move it” Sure enough, it was moving

The way she speaks, you would think no one would dare to mess with Scott.But the reality was very different. In 1983 she was a high-profile transfer from ITV to share breakfast with Avuncular Frank Bough, who died last year starting the BBC Looking back, it was the strangest pairing – a TV marriage in hell and a reflection of the time Ast was 50 but could have passed as a staunch retiree; Scott was 31 and looked younger, and it turns out Bough wasn’t quite as avuncular after all. In 1988 he was caught snorting cocaine with sex workers and immediately fired. After his death, Scott wrote an article revealing his behavior is no better at work He said he was deliberately undermining her by interrupting the middle of the question, insisting on having the last word, and repeatedly telling her how well endowed he was. When Scott didn’t respond positively, he assumed she was cold or had to be a lesbian and said of her: “Even when she rides a bike, she keeps her knees together”

Wasn’t there anyone she could complain to? “No, I couldn’t do anything about it. Frank was protected” The management just wasn’t interested, “she says.” They didn’t seem to have emotional intelligence and let men like Frank Bough roam the BBC without checking. ”

She talks about a victim blame culture in Oxbridge-trained leadership that likened her to a mafia “The men at the BBC would always say there is no smoke without fire. If Frank Bough did these things to these women, he must.” they somehow encouraged himShe thinks she had to speak up because part of that culture prevails today “It was my little #MeToo moment”

Scott says it didn’t take her long to sense that something was wrong with the BBC “I knew there was this malevolence pretty soon. Once I got there, I was treated like an intruder, I wasn’t one of them and that’s why my television life became difficult. There was always a feeling that they were trying to get rid of me. “That’s compassionate, I say – after all, she was brought in as a star for her expertise,” Or what I looked like then, Or the fact that I was advertised a lot became ”

She mentions a management memo leaked to her after she stood up for Terry Wogan and presents his prime time chat show Wogan, “They talked about how I looked, how I talked, how I went on stage was only one person in the room who said this was sexist It was enlightening to see these men arguing about women like me Did she challenge them when she found out about this? Not half, she says “I did my normal and grabbed the producers and said,” How dare you? “

She quit breakfast time in 1986 and left the BBC with a red face. After all, Scott was a valuable asset.She was quickly offered another program, The Clothes Show, to further embarrass it. Followed Networking Scott says she’s in some ways grateful for the way she’s been treated at the BBC – it gave her an opportunity to make a name for herself in the US

What made her time on British television even more difficult was the tabloids obsession with her. When they couldn’t find out about their love life, they became sneaky, “I was in the papers almost every day, What did you write about?” “Hair the way I dressed, I ask people stupid questions,” Did it get to her? ”Of course it was like trolling all the time. The only way I could deal with it, like trolling today, was to turn it off that person who appeared on TV and in the newspapers would really not be me ”

She says the journalists were the worst “It was the Glenda Slagg era. Every Wednesday Jean Rook sharpened her pen and went into town. At one point I received a letter from her:” Oh, dear Selina, I feel this way horrible to have to do this to you, but my editor insists! ” She laughs “He insists! What a lot of rubbish she was the First Lady of Fleet Street after all ”

Around this time the palace contacted her with an unusual request, “Michael Shea, the Queen’s press secretary, asked if I would befriend Diana. He thought I might be able to advise her on how to deal with the press, but the problem was that I went through just like them ”

She was friends with Diana, although they preferred to chat about lighter things. “We always talked about things like hairstyles, clothes and friends. She had a wonderful sense of humor and I thought that would help her with everything, too.” overcome, but obviously it wasn’t like that ”

Scott made friends with other royals along the way. Is it true he asked her while interviewing Prince Andrew? “Um, yeah, and did she meet him? “No no!” she says like it’s the most ridiculous thing in the world how did she reject him? “I just ignored it”

Was she surprised that he became friends with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein? “Surprised? No. That’s what American multimillionaires do. They’re buying influence and prestige. I can see how he might have fallen into it. I hope the heavens he was telling the truth, mostly because of his family”

Scott was also making a documentary about Prince Charles, and there was a rumor that he asked her too, Is that true? “You’re a little monkey, I’m not going anywhere near it. Next question”

So I ask what she is most proud of in her television career, “The result was the exposure of ivory poaching in Kenya. A few weeks before he was shot by poachers, he went into the bush with George Adamson that resulted in an immediate program Prohibition of ivory poaching I had the feeling that I had achieved something there ”

There were other hits, notably a documentary for ITV about Donald Trump in 1995. He was expecting a puff but she exposed him as a liar who owed the banks hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite everything, she concluded, we write him at our risk from

In the opening shot, he hugged her tightly as he introduced her to a shabby investor boardroom. She folded her arms around herself for protection. Did he suggest her? “Yeah, I take it he did” What did he say? “Well, you can imagine we were on his plane and «Long silence” I can’t remember Simon. It’s been far too long. Her phone rings. She answers and comes back with a smile. “Saved by the bell,” she says

Trump hated the documentary Did he try to destroy her career afterwards? “I think so. Of course the men at ITV were totally cowardly. He threatened legal action. It was supposed to be shown in the States, but ITV was scared. And he beat me up on TV. Did she mind?” Sure, I thought that was utterly shameful This was a documentary Would you have done it to someone like Paxman? “

For more than a year, says Scott, Trump has been writing her increasingly abusive letters, which she describes as “perverted.” What did he say? “My career is great, you’re a bastard, you’re a loser, you’re shabby. Stuff like that. It was like being a stalker. He finally gave up when I said,” Stop chasing me mentally “”

During the following quarter of a century, Scott made occasional comebacks on television – but the returns were short and ended miserably in 1997, Sky hired her for £ 1 million a year to host a late night chat show, but the show was soon suspended on Im In 2002 she turned her back on the BBC after denouncing a documentary about her as “sloppy” and “offensive” In 2008, Scott sued Channel 5 for age discrimination after her maternity insurance contract for Natasha Kaplinsky was terminated when the station decided it wanted a younger replacement she won 250£ 000 in an out-of-court settlement How important was it for you to take over Channel 5? “A lot, because back then television was still about younger women with older men. There wasn’t an older woman anywhere”

Since then, Scott has been largely devoted to the farm, her cashmere business, and campaigns. Though acknowledging great moments in her career, Scott’s view is not rose-tinted, if anything, there is a sense of melancholy, a muted disappointment when she looks back on “You hear suddenly up and you think, what was it really about? That was a puzzling question. What was the point? “

In 2006 she did a show called Why I Hate TV Today “I hated TV because I felt like nothing in it inspired women like me” Nowadays she says she doesn’t hate TV, she just doesn’t care

It’s been 17 years since Scott bought her farmhouse to rebuild his 180 acres.She rescued angora goats and made mohair socks from their wool.Now the goats are extinct and she is traveling to Outer Mongolia to find Kashmir for her clothing store It may be a lonely life, but she says she is not lonely.Your phone rings again – a reminder of an event scheduled for that evening.She still makes the occasional headline, but often times the story has nothing to offer Im In 2014, for example, the Telegraph reported that she was considering running for a Conservative MP for Richmond in Yorkshire.It was nonsense, she says – she’s not even a Tory

One of the things I kept wondering was how Scott, at the height of her success, managed to keep her personal life so completely private. She smiles. “I tried very hard private life to me private meant I could be independent be, do my thing, meet who I wanted to meet, and leave pretty much everything behind, and I’m really grateful for that ”

I ask if she has always lived alone. Your guard goes up “Um I have a ghost that I’m living with right now “And now she tells me how she came downstairs one morning 10 years ago and one of her dogs was hiding in the old Tudor chimney while the other had ripped apart every door the dogs refused to sleep in the house. I had a Ripon priest here to see it. He said it was a kind spirit, a serene spirit, and I said, “Well, tell my dogs’” she spoke to the mind? “No, I’m not that much of a cracker. Nor do I know it’s near and in a certain part of the house”

I’m trying to go back to the previous question “I won’t tell you” she replies before I’m done. “Why should I be pigeonholed? Everyone is individual I told you that in the moment I am living with a spirit that is true ”

I don’t think people are pigeonholed like they used to be, I say Many people live alone because they prefer and now Scott is very animated “Marriage and attachment to a particular person are fine for people if they want to, but it can be seen as an accomplishment that you will not marry today I consider an accomplishment that I was free to do whatever I wanted to do I chose to do with who I want to be with or not. This life-long tagging business seems like a waste. Some people like being taggedShe takes a respite “I certainly don’t,” she says with a fierce and rather grandiose conviction

Winter hikes: Selina Scott is on 4 January at 7pm on BBC Four and will be available on BBC iPlayer after that

Selina Scott

World News – GB – “I hated television”: Selina Scott on Trump, Prince Andrew, Frank Bough and the BBC