The Irish TV presenter, 39, co-hosted the rebooted series of Robot Wars for BBC Two with comedian Dara O’Briain between 2016-2018. The show followed amateur and professional inventors whose robot creations were pitted against one another in combat.
Appearing on Tiffanie Darke’s podcast, Fashion as a Force for Good, last month, Scanlon described her “wild imposter syndrome” ahead of the launch of the prime-time Sunday night show.
She explained she felt “very much out of her comfort zone in terms of the subject”, and saw herself as “the newcomer, the rookie”, while O’Briain was a “massively established name”.
Scanlon then claimed that a producer on the series, whom she already suspected had “ideas that were quite traditional”, viewed her as the “glamour” on the show and little else.
She alleged that she later received a call from a friend, who told her that the producer had referred to her as the “tits and teeth” of Robot Wars.
The TV host said hearing this made her “absolutely furious”. The situation was apparently exacerbated by her next meeting with the producer, who allegedly spent more time discussing what she would wear on the show than her actual presenting work.
“It felt so reductive and so presumptuous that I would have arrived with my lippie on and my legs out to entertain the lads, and that was my value. Absolutely not,” she said.
The Independent has contacted the BBC for comment.
Known for her work on the BBC and Irish broadcaster RTÉ, Scanlon hosts the interior design show Your Home Made Perfect on BBC Two, and is the only woman in the UK and Ireland to have her own Saturday night chat show: RTÉ One’s Ask Me Anything.
She published her first book, Joyrider – about the importance of bringing gratitude into everyday life – last year, and is set to compete on the 21st series of the BBC’s popular TV dance competition, Strictly Come Dancing.
“Will they make me tan? How itchy are sequins?! Do they do flesh-coloured sports bras? Well... there’s only one way to find out, right!?” Scanlon said in a statement after it was announced that she would be taking part.
“Now I’m panicking a bit… but also secretly thrilled about the prospect of all that glitter. Let’s go!”