Inside Martine Croxall’s year away from the cameras: How presenter, 55, suing for age and sex discrimination, enjoyed trips to Mexico, Bulgaria and Thailand during her time off-air – and congratulated Annita McVeigh who she was also sidelined by BBC bosses

Inside Martine Croxall’s year away from the cameras: How presenter, 55, suing for age and sex discrimination, enjoyed trips to Mexico, Bulgaria and Thailand during her time off-air – and congratulated Annita McVeigh who she was also sidelined by BBC bosses

  • Martine Croxall has not been seen on the news channel since March 2023

BBC presenter Martine Croxall has been delighting viewers on screen for more than three decades.

But the 55-year-old broadcaster has spent the last 12 months travelling the world after being left in limbo along with a number of other high-profile presenters when the BBC’s News and World News channels merged last April.

Croxall is used to reading out the headlines, but this week she has found herself at the centre of them – as she was joined by four other senior colleagues in launching a legal battle against the BBC for age and sex discrimination. 

Karin Giannone, 50, Geeta Guru-Murthy, 56, Kasia Madera, 48, and Annita McVeigh, 46, are also involved in the bombshell case, according to US news agency Deadline. It follows a high-profile equal pay dispute between the BBC and presenter Samira Ahmed in 2020.

While preparing to take legal action against her company, Croxall has certainly made the most of her year off-air – enjoying trips to Mexico, Bulgaria and Thailand to name but a few.

During her time off, she went swimming with whale sharks and sea lions in the Gulf of California, zipwired over a canyon in Mexico and fed elephants at a sanctuary in Phuket.

That’s on top of taking a hot balloon over the pyramids in Mexico and venturing on two ski trips, including one where she was seen relaxing in a massive hot tub after spending a day on the slopes. 

Croxall was one of five female BBC News presenters who were left in limbo last year when the BBC's News and World News channels merged. They are all taking legal action. Pictured: Croxall with Kaisa Madera, Geeta Guru Murthy, Annita McVeigh and Karin Giannone

During her year off-air, Croxall has been on a number of holidays including Thailand where she fed elephants

During her year out, Croxall appears to have spent much of her time travelling around the world. Pictured: On a hot air balloon in Mexico

Martine Croxall goes zipwiring over the Copper Canyon in Mexico during her year off

Croxall signed off for the last time on March 31 2023. Posting a video on social media to her fans, the experienced broadcaster said: ‘As you probably know a single BBC News channel will be with you from Monday.

‘This is me signing off from the BBC News channel in its current iteration from my happy place – Studio E. It has been the greatest privilege to broadcast to you from here all this time. Thank you for joining us.’

But she confirmed her return in February – almost a year after she was first axed by the BBC – delighting fans that she would be back soon.

While celebrating her 55th birthday, the presenter was asked if viewers would see her back on their screens soon. She responded: ‘Yes my birthday is today and I have been thoroughly spoiled. Will be back on air in a few weeks. Take care of yourself. 

‘I will be back,’ she added. Just working out the details.’

Two weeks later, she posted a photo with the four BBC presenters she is taking legal action with. Alongside a picture of her, Giannone, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Kasia Madera and McVeigh, she wrote: ‘Rarely seen in the same room together but it’s magic when it happens!’

In May, she spent ‘four glorious days in the Swiss Alps’ and posted selfies of her beaming in the sunlight in Sion, Canton Du Valais.

Croxall's year of travelling began with 'four glorious days in the Swiss Apls' in May 2023

The presenter beams from a balcony of a villa in Morestel in France in July 2023

Just five weeks ago, she went swimming with whale sharks and sea lions in the Gulf of California

Croxall is pictured under water while swimming with the animals

Croxall drinks a spicy margarita on her holiday travelling through Mexico just five weeks ago

Croxalle, pictured in El Fuerte in March, has not been on screens for over a year

Croxall takes a break from the slopes in Bulgaria by relaxing at a spa in the mountains in February

Croxall shares a selfie in Valle De Los Monjes in Chihuaha, Mexico

A week later she then met up with Giannone and McVeigh again, captioning a group selfie ‘three presenters going Out Out’.

Croxall, whose posts often feature comments asking when she will be back on screens, also had a day out at the Epsom Races in June after being invited by Clare Balding and Alice Arnold.

The presenter then continued filling her busy calendar by taking a trip to Morestel in France where she was seen indulging in the local cuisine and wise.

What happened in the Samira Ahmed case? 

In January 2020, Samira Ahmed took the BBC to an employment tribunal for a sex discrimination case.

She won the landmark case, after it was revealed Ms Ahmed was paid £465 to present episodes of Newswatch while her male colleague Jeremy Vine was paid more than £3,000 a go for Points of View.

The tribunal agreed that the work carried out by both Ms Ahmed and Mr Vine were largely similar, with both programmes lasting for 15 minutes and offering viewers the chance to air their opinions.

The BBC argued they were ‘not doing similar work’, but the corporation later agreed on a settlement in the case.

While the full amount is unknown, Ms Ahmed had claimed she had been underpaid by £700,000. 


As she continued to post photos from her various summer trips, one follower quipped: ‘Are you ever in the UK??!’ Croxall replied: ‘99% of the time!’

But the jet-setting presenter was off on holiday again in October, this time spending a few days in the Tremiti Islands off Puglia.

In November, she then flew out to Phuket, Thailand, where she visited Buddhist temples, enjoyed boat trips and Tuk-Tuk rides and spent a day at an elephant sanctuary with ‘friends old and new’. 

One social media user joked: ‘Break done you good, innit!’

The presenter then briefly returned to London but was back on her way again in January, this time making the most of the snow on a ski trip in the Bulgarian mountains. In one post, she was seen relaxing in a spa ‘after a day on reds and blacks’. 

Croxall then travelled to Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, for a day trip before heading home.

Last month, Croxall continued her adventures around the world as she explored the Valle De Los Monjes area in Chihuahua, Mexico. In one post, she was seen posing in a swimming pool, surrounded by stunning mountains.

Clearly making the most of her time off, she then zipwired over the Copper Canyon before setting off to La Paz where she swam with whale sharks and sea lions in the Gulf of California.

She finished off her year of memorable holidays by spending some time in Mexico City where she went up in a hot air balloon over the Teotihuacán pyramids. 

Her Mexican trip, where she created ‘memories to last a lifetime’ came to an end on March 18 – and she has not shared any photos since. 

Another photo from her social media showed her skiing in Bulgaria in February

Croxall soaks up the rays by taking a swim in a pool surrounded by mountains in Mexico in March

The presenter has a go at washing an elephant while holidaying in Phuket, Thailand

Alongside her travels, Croxall also publicly backed McVeigh and Gury-Murthy when they returned to our screens.

‘Great to see Anita back on air again! #shesback,’ Ms Croxall wrote on X following McVeigh’s return last month.

And upon Guru-Murthy’s return – also last month – she wrote: ‘Straight back into the fray! Good to see Geeta Guru-Murthy in the BBC New hot seat. #shesback.’           

Croxall and her four colleagues are set to take the BBC to an employment tribunal next month, it has emerged. 

Listings for the proceedings, due to be held at London Central tribunal court from May 1, also reveal the case also centres around equal pay. 

It is set to be one of the most high-profile tribunals faced by the BBC since it lost a gender pay dispute with Newswatch presenter Samira Ahmed.

In 2020, the London hearing found that Ahmed should have been paid the same as fellow presenter Jeremy Vine for their work on Newswatch and Points Of View respectively. 

Ahmed claimed she was underpaid by £700,000 – but the BBC argued the pair had not done similar work. The unanimous judgment said Ahmed’s work was like Vine’s and that the BBC failed to prove the pay gap was not because of sex discrimination.

Alongside McVeigh, Madera, Guru-Murthy and Giannone, Croxall was shunned with little work to do last April. As the presenters were all due to return, they all continued to receive their full pay package. 

The merger, however, left some of Croxall’s colleagues, such as Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Wilcox leaving for good. 

They reportedly raised concerns about the way the BBC managed the recruitment process, claiming the corporation has already chosen who it wanted before people had even applied.

But BBC bosses were said to have rejected these claims after an internal review took place.

McVeigh and Guru-Murthy are understood to have both now taken chief presenter roles and have recently appeared on air, following new vacancies at the channel.

Giannone and Madera, like Croxall have not appeared on the news channel in over a year.

Croxall joined the corporation in 1991 following work experience with her location station, BBC Radio Leicester. 

She grew up in the country, attending an independent school before graduating from the University of Leeds.  

It is understood the mother-of-two has been discussing her future at the BBC with bosses.

On Christmas Eve all five remaining presenters were pictured together enjoying a drink at a pub. 

McVeigh posted: ‘Season’s Greetings to all my followers here, thanks for your support, and to these wonderful women ⁦for their friendship.’

In 2022, she was briefly taken off air after breaking the corporation's impartiality rules when reporting that Boris Johnson was stepping down from the Tory leadership race

The women had declined voluntary redundancies and for a time were left without job titles. 

The women, who have more than 100 years experience between them, previously threatened legal action against the corporation, claiming they were unfairly selected for redundancy. 

US news agency Deadline claimed the presenters were aggrieved at the ‘humiliating’ recruitment process which reportedly entailed the qualified presenters taking screen tests in a small studio with a manual autocue – despite the fact many names had years or decades of experience.

‘I think they [Eades, Gosling, and Willcox] could not face the prospect of having to go through this ignominious process,’ one person with knowledge of the process was previously reported as saying in January. 

A second said: ‘People are incandescent. It’s humiliating – you feel like you’re 21 again and applying for your first job on the BBC.’

It is set to be one of the most high-profile tribunals faced by the BBC since it lost a gender pay dispute with Newswatch presenter Samira Ahmed in 2020. Pictured: Ahmed (centre) arriving with supporters including BBC journalist Carrie Gracie (right)

Presenters previously alleged the process had been ‘rigged’ with a list of chief presenters being made before applications opened.  

Yet sources later said the Beeb would ‘reverse ferret’ bringing them back under new job titles in a bid of avoid potential lawsuits following the merger that saw dozens of cuts. 

An insider at the BBC told The Times the group were ‘litigious’ and would have the backing of the National Union of Journalists should they go to court. 

‘Plus, the BBC is short of presenters so there are no grounds to make them redundant. And they’re all capable of doing the role,’ the insider said. ‘A reverse ferret is definitely the best plan.’ 

Guru-Murthy and McVeigh returned to their presenting chairs last month, with the later writing ‘so good to be bringing you the news again’. Both were promoted to chief presenting roles. 

In 2022, she was briefly taken off air after breaking the corporation's impartiality rules

Croxall is set to take the corporation to an employment tribunal beginning on May 1, official documents have shown. Details of her claim remain unknown at this time

It led to a flood of colleagues from within the industry – many of whom previously worked at the BBC – wished her the best and thanking her for al her hard work. 

Times Radio presenter Ayesha Hazarika said:  ‘Was such a pleasure working with you on the papers. You’re a star. Good luck with your next adventure.’

GB News’ Political Editor Chirstopher Hope said ‘you are an absolute pro’ while former Newsnight producer Sam McAllister added: ‘You’re a bloody treat.’

The case, if it goes ahead, will be a blow to the BBC’s director-general Tim Davie who had said he was looking to find a ‘fair resolution’ to the situation.

The employment tribunal case also risks reigniting the huge controversy over the way the corporation has treated women.

BBC bosses came under huge pressure a few years ago over the way women were paid unequally at the corporation and were victims of discrimination.

As well as Ahmed’s employment tribunal victory, former China editor Carrie Gracie won back pay and an apology from the BBC in 2018 over unequal pay.

The controversy led to the formation of a group of female staff at the corporation, called BBC Women, who took management to task over its record on fair treatment.

Croxall’s case, as listed by the employment tribunal, is also believed to include the claim that she suffered detriment from being the member of a trade union. In the list of areas the case will cover there is also another reference to pay.

It has been suggested that the BBC has paid more than £1 million in salaries, as well as acting up pay and freelance cover costs, during the period these women had been off-air.

Ms Croxall was emotional when she announced the death of Prince Philip in a live broadcast

The upcoming employment tribunal is not the first hurdle Croxall has faced throughout her long-running career at the BBC.

In 2022, she was briefly taken off air after breaking the corporation’s impartiality rules.

The blunder happened on October 23 after Boris Johnson ran out of the leadership contest that Rishi Sunak went on to win.

During the Sunday night edition of The Papers, where press members discuss the main stories of the day, she said in the wake of Johnson’s departure: ‘Well this is all very exciting, isn’t it? Am I allowed to be this gleeful? Well I am.’ 

Later in the show she also admitted that she was ‘probably breaking’ some of the BBC’s impartiality rules when she laughed at Tony Grew’s mocking of Johnson.

The corporation later ruled that Croxall had made ‘several remarks and reactions’ that caused ‘significant risk’ that the audience could believe ‘opinions were being expressed’ on the Conservative leadership race. She returned to air after 11 days off. 

Following the death of Prince Philip, Croxall was close to tears as she interrupted the broadcast to break the news to the country.

She told viewers: ‘We are interrupting our normal programmes to bring you an important announcement.’

The newsreader appeared to choke up with emotion as she began reading the official statement from the Palace.

It led to an outpouring of sympathy from BBC viewers. One wrote on social media: ‘The BBC announcement was done very well and I really thought it was touching the way the newsreader was clearly emotional.’

Another added: ‘The BBC news caster is barely holding it together… bless her.’

Croxall’s legal action comes after World At One presenter Sarah Montague also previously confirmed she had won a £400,000 settlement and an apology from the BBC over unequal treatment.

In 2021 the BBC disclosed it had spent more than £1 million on legal fees fighting equal pay and race discrimination cases brought by staff.

The BBC declined to comment on the matter. MailOnline has contacted Croxall.

Arthur Parashar

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