BBC News presenter Jane Hill: Gays and lesbians need better representation on TV and radio

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

BBC News presenter Jane Hill says there is still not enough LGBT people on Britain’s TV screens, and is sad at the recent demise of BBC Three’s lesbian drama Lip Service.

Attending a central London party last night in honour of DIVA magazine’s 200th edition, the lesbian journalist and broadcaster told PinkNews: “A lot of people at this party are upset that we don’t have Lip Service anymore. Sure we have people like Sue Perkins on Radio 4 but that isn’t enough. Across all broadcasters we need better representation of lesbian and gay people.”

Hill spoke of her delight at gracing the cover of this month’s special edition of DIVA, as part of a group of twelve queer women in the public eye, she told PinkNews: “Oh my god. I can’t believe it, it’s lovely, actually. It’s really, really lovely. When I picked up my copy it was way more exciting than I expected it to be. I mean, I was very flattered to be asked, obviously.”

Asked if it was more exciting than presenting the news for the BBC, Hill replied to PinkNews: “You can’t compare it, it’s completely different. But I felt, oh my gosh, if I could have told my twenty-year-old self that one day I would be on the front cover of DIVA, I would have been, you know, probably had a much happier life. Just the notion that, finally, at my ripe old age, I would have found some sort of peace and known who I am. I never ever ever would have believed that when I was in my twenties. To me that is amazing.”

She continued: “But it’s not just all about me, I’ll tell you one thing… I’ve already had a letter from a subscriber to DIVA who obviously got their copy a few days early, and already this woman, she said she was roughly my age so presumably early forties, already she has written to me going ‘this edition is so fantastic and I just want you to know how important it is that people in the public eye are open about who they are.’ And I thought, that is one letter that makes the whole thing worth it.”

In DIVA, Hill talks about how her “late” coming out at the age of 30 gave her the confidence to buy LGBT publications like DIVA in bookstores. “I felt I could find out what was happening in the gay world in a way I hadn’t been able to up until that point.”

When asked if there is still a point to having a lesbian publication, Hill replied to PinkNews: “Oh yeah, definitely. Because we’re still a minority, there’s a point for lesbian everything.”

“It makes it all worth it that someone feels there’s still a role for DIVA, that there’s still a role for lesbian publications. Anyway, I recieved a letter from a reader which said ‘I came out really late, I only came out when I was 37, this has made such a difference to me having people in the public eye coming out.’ That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s not just for lesbians, that’s for gay men as well. I still think there are, as we both know, there are fewer gay women in the public eye than there are gay men. That’s why it’s important.”