Scientist blasts BBC after host said physics teachers were 'grumpy'

Fury at BBC home-schooling programme that tells pupils physics teachers are ‘grumpy, scary and smell of cabbage’

  • Actor & radio host Cel Spellman said physics teachers were ‘grumpy’ and ‘scary’
  • Dr Adam Rutherford criticised presenter for ‘ridiculous’ remarks on BBC Bitesize
  • Spellman’s comments have also come under fire by people on social media 

The BBC has come under fire from an eminent scientist after a presenter told schoolchildren physics teachers were ‘grumpy, scary and smell of cabbage’.

Cel Spellman, a former Radio 1 host and TV actor, made the ‘ridiculous’ remark during an introduction on BBC Bitesize.

The online study resource is educating children at home while schools are closed during the lockdown.

Spellman, who stars in ITV drama Cold Feet, told his young audience: ‘I’m going to be your teacher today. Don’t worry, I’ll be more like the cool, laid back drama teacher you like, not the grumpy physics teacher with a faint aroma of cabbage you are a little bit scared of.’

Dr Adam Rutherford, a geneticist and author who hosts the BBC Radio 4 show Inside Science, called Spellman’s comment ‘shameful, embarrassing and anti-educational’.

He added that it ‘served none of the BBC’s values’.

He said: ‘This callow actor casually slagging off physics teachers on the BBC is shameful, embarrassing, and anti-educational. It serves none of the BBC’s values.

‘These stereotypes are damaging. It’s stuff similar to this that tells girls they can’t do physics, or that science is for nerds not cool kids.

‘These anti-intellectual stereotypes are why we have such cultural ignorance about scientific practice, which fuel conspiracy theories about climate change or vaccines, or pandemics.’

Others took to social media to hit out at the presenter’s comments which ‘denigrated’ school science staff.

Dr Adam Rutherford, a geneticist and author who hosts the BBC Radio 4 show Inside Science, called Spellman’s comment ‘shameful, embarrassing and anti-educational’. Pictured: Spellman on the BBC Bitesize programme

Andy McHugh said: ‘This isn’t a good look for @bbcbitesize. Did someone really approve this script?

‘The whole point of these programmes is to promote education. Surely that includes not denigrating school staff. 

‘Let’s hope this mistake isn’t repeated in the future.’

Kerry Gibb added: ‘It shocks me that this ridiculous stereotyping still exists.

Spellman stars in ITV drama Cold Feet and previously hosted a show on BBC Radio 1. Pictured: Spellman, second from right, with co-stars on set of Cold Feet

‘It’s like when kids go to secondary school & suddenly come home saying ‘people who read are nerds’.

‘This show should be applauding the sciences.’

Spellman, 25, hosted a Radio 1 show from July 2015 to August 2020 and plays James Nesbitt’s son Matthew Williams in Cold Feet.

He was also in last year’s Netflix drama White Lines.

The BBC have been approached for comment. 

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