Clare Balding speaking on GMB in a green shirt

BBC’s apology to Clare Balding over ‘blatantly indefensible’ joke about her sexuality: ‘We got it wrong’

Clare hs been married to wife Alice since 2006

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The BBC was once forced to apologise to Queen’s host Clare Balding over an “indefensible” joke made about her sexuality.

Clare – who is hosting the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage this week – is openly gay and is married to former BBC newsreader Alice Arnold.

Clare Balding looking to the side on GMB
Clare was subject of a debate on BBC Radio 5 Live (Credit: ITV)

Cruel joke about Queen’s host Clare Balding and her sexuality

Back in 2013, the BBC found itself in hot water after a joke about Clare’s sexuality was broadcast on Radio 5.

An edition of the BBC Radio 5 Live show, Fighting Talk, was broadcast, in which contestants were asked to debate whether Clare should present racing shows topless.

In a round in which the contestants are asked to “defend the indefensible” comedian Bob Mills said: “Give me 20 minutes with her and I’m pretty sure I could turn around Clare Balding.”

Clare Balding posing in blue
The BBC apologised (Credit:

BBC slammed

Bob then went on to describe Clare as being a “horse woman” who “appreciates power between her thighs”.

“And we all know, there is no woman that can’t be cured,” he then joked.

At the time, the BBC received 19 complaints about the debate. It initially responded by pointing out that the comments made came during a segment of the show in which panelists comment on topics which “by their very nature, are blatantly indefensible”.

However, the BBC later confessed that the comments had been “inappropriate”.

“Fighting Talk is a live programme and on this occasion we got it wrong. The ‘Defend the Indefensible’ item was inappropriate and as such we have removed this short section of the programme from iPlayer. We would again like to apologise to anyone who was offended by the programme,” it said in a statement.

Clare Balding pointing at her smiling wife, Alice Arnold
Alice and Clare tied the knot in 2006 (Credit:

Clare Balding and wife Alice Arnold

Clare and Alice entered a civil partnership back in 2006. In 2015, they married in a private ceremony without any guests present.

“They just backdate it to when you did your civil partnership,” Clare explained during an appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show.

“So officially now we have been married since 2006,” she then went on to say.

Speaking of the ceremony itself, she said: “We didn’t have a big party at all actually. Nobody came apart from us.”

Read more: Crufts host Clare Balding stopped speaking to grandmother following ‘disgusting’ comment about her sexuality

Wimbledon is on BBC One and BBC Two, daily.

The Search For A New Dog: Clare Balding Opens Up About Losing Archie | Good Morning Britain

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Robert Emlyn Slater
Senior Writer

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