Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Caroline Wyatt, defence reporter for the BBC

I stumbled upon this outrageous thread at Digital Spy (, which was about Caroline Wyatt, who reports on defence matters for BBC News. The thread began in November 2009 and rumbled on until October 2010. The opening post asked if she were a man because of her deep voice, and further along it was suggested that she might be a post-op 'trannie'. The poor woman! Thank goodness she was defended, and the infantile comments condemned, but as ever nobody 'won' the debate, and all the crass and hurtful remarks went unpunished.

Wikipedia has this to say of her:

Caroline Wyatt (born 1967) is the BBC News defence correspondent.

Wyatt was born in Darlinghurst, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, and adopted by a British diplomat.


Wyatt was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School (subsequently renamed Woldingham School), an independent school in Woldingham, Surrey, UK, before studying English and German at Southampton University, which included six months at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. She went on to gain a postgraduate diploma in print journalism at City University, London.

Life and career

Wyatt joined the BBC in 1991 as a news and current affairs trainee. She reported from Germany between 1993 and 2000, first as Berlin correspondent then Bonn correspondent. She was then the BBC's Moscow correspondent until 2003, when she became their Paris correspondent. She took up her present post as defence correspondent in October 2007.

War reporting

Wyatt reported from Baghdad during the December 1998 Bombing of Iraq. She covered the 1999 Kosovo conflict from Albania and Kosovo. In 2001-2 she reported on the War in Afghanistan from the headquarters of the Afghan Northern Alliance. She also covered the Iraq War in spring 2003 as an embedded journalist with the British troops in and around Basra.
Wyatt chaired the jury of the 2008 Bayeux-Calvados Award for war correspondents.

Radio presenting

Wyatt has occasionally presented for BBC Radio on the Radio 4 programmes The World Tonight, From Our Own Correspondent and the Saturday edition of PM , as well as Europe Today, Newshour and Outlook on the BBC World Service. She has also co-presented Euronews on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Wyatt has an unusually low pitched voice.

Well, that seems to depict an intelligent and well-travelled lady, with a pretty meaty CV to boot. She's clearly not a mere lightweight TV presenter. And there is absolutely no mention of remedial surgery for a transsexual condition. There's nothing odd about a woman in her 40s having a deepish voice. She certainly isn't going to sound like a young Shirley Temple!

My heart goes out to Miss Wyatt. I really hope she is still unaware of the Digital Spy thread. It represented a gross personal attack, making a mockery of such concepts as 'fair observation' and 'free speech'. It makes you wonder what would happen to any of us if we had the temerity to appear on TV. Alas, it's entirely typical of the attacks made upon individuals who are seen to be 'not normal'.


  1. Thing is, "post-op" shouldn't be any more insulting than "gay" or "lesbian," even if untrue. The problem is more that people use the idea that someone might have been born male-bodied as an insult.

    Some do to Ann Coulter because she's thin and her tracheal bump sticks out (as if she wouldn't have had that taken care of if she had been born male). People do it to women of colour. It's misogyny, and attempt to devalue the womanhood -- and humanity -- of women perceived to have "masculine" traits.

    Hopefully Caroline Wyatt is above it all. She certainly does have an impressive CV!

  2. I once worked with an adorable little woman, no more than 5'3" or 5'4". By appearance, she was unmistakably female. I'm sure she was born female bodied, but she had a very low voice. When I called her on the phone one day, at first I thought it was a man who answered. Just goes to show that there is no such thing as a stereotypical woman, or man for that matter.

    Melissa XX

  3. I'm a big fan of Caroline Wyatt. I think she's incredibly intelligent and a very competent reporter. I often hear her reports on the Today Programme on Radio 4 and she is one of my favourite journalists. I just thought I'd do a Wiki or Google search today to find out a bit more about her and was somewhat shocked and upset to find that much of what I find about her on the internet is related to the debate over her sexuality rather than her journalistic and professional attributes.

    Firstly, I will say this. I think Caroline is an incredibly attractive woman. She has a certain timeless and 'classic' quality about her which distinguishes her from many of the women in the media today. She's confident, has her own style and always looks well-presented and immaculately turned out. She also has a face which I wouldn't have a problem waking up next to first thing in the morning.

    Secondly, yes she has a very deep voice, and if you heard a snippet of her on the radio without any introduction or prior knowledge, it would be fairly easy to mistake her for a man at first hearing, although perhaps a man with a slightly higher pitched voice than is more common. In fact, she would be a real tricky one in any 'Guess the mystery voice' contest.

    The thing is, the more I see her on TV and the more I listen to her on the radio, the more her voice 'fits' her and the more it appeals to me. In fact, I'm looking forward to the day when the BBC commission her to make a full-length programme (on any subject!) either for TV or radio as I really could listen to her for a long time. I have a suspicion that part of the quality of her voice can be attributed to her Australian birth...perhaps she's had some voice coaching to try and de-Strine her speech somewhat? Who knows?

    But, she's as natural a woman as many out there...even more so in some ways. Given a choice out of her and, say, Stacey Solomon...I'd pick Caroline without a shadow o hesitation. And why not have a few more 'interesting' voices on the TV and radio? You only need to listen to the BBC World Service and Radio 4 on a regular basis to be aware of Neil Nunes. Now there is a distinctive voice. I could also listen to him for hours on end.

    So to all the Wyatt-bashers out there...let her be. Even if there was something of a 'story' about her and her sexuality, does it make anyone's life a jot different by harping on about it? No. I don't think there is a 'back story'...she's just a great journalist and attractive, intelligent and well-presented woman with a lower pitch to her well annunciated speech.

    And a bit of a 'babe' too, speaking as a 45 year old male.

    1. Sexuality and Gender are two very different things. Gender is between the ears not legs.

  4. I think Wyatt has got one of the most pleasant voices on radio.

  5. Unlike most of the people commenting on that DS thread, she's intelligent, educated, well traveled, professional, highly-paid and well regarded by her peers and her audience. If she reads that thread, I hope she's got a skin as thick as most of the numb-skulls there.

    She's one of about 4 journalists at the BBC whose reports I watch and enjoy because you know the analysis will be concise, accurate and insightful (some of the others being Frank Gardner and Jonathan Amos). Keep up the good work Caroline - a concept the people on that thread probably don't understand.

  6. It is entirely possible for a woman to have a deep voice.
    I am from Northern Ireland and the women there generally do not have very high pitched voices. In any case is it a problem for anyone if there is a transgender person on TV. ? ; or are transgender considered fair game now that being gay is no longer the fashionable target >

  7. Excuse me. I want to make it clear that I too admire Ms Wyatt as a skilled journalist and I enjoy her reporting and elegant dress sense. Indeed I wish I were as elegant. However, I cannot believe that there's no one out there who doesn't remember a young BBC reporter, Charles Wyatt who was in Germany around 1995/6 and who suddenly popped up one night as Caroline Wyatt. It was as quick as that, one night it was Charles Wyatt, the next night the reporter was introduced as Caroline Wyatt. Same person, different clothes. I remember thinking how sensitively the BBC had handled the transition. Now, Me Wyatt is entitled to her privacy, but I don't agree with airbrushing her history. I wish her well, but there may be people out there who could benefit from her frankness. And no, I am neither gay nor a transgender. I am a happily married heterosexual woman, who has a liberal outlook.

    1. I remember the announcement on Radio 4, which went something like this. " That was our reporter Charlie Wyatt, when he returns from his break at the BBC he will be know as Caroline Wyatt. This announcement was made at around 4.30 in the morning and think it was around the time of the first Gulf War.

  8. Well, Margaret, I didn't know about Charles Wyatt. I think we can all agree however that Miss Caroline Wyatt is intelligent, does her job well, and on top of that is a pleasure to behold. Like you, I wistfully envy her accomplishments.

    I see what you mean about airbrushing the past, but an awful lot of people do the same, often for valid professional reasons that anyone can understand. I am sure that she is open with her personal friends and her family. I certainly don't think she needs to make a public announcement - or 'confession'. Why? What for? Whose life will be improved or made better if she did?

    I always say that truth and honesty are like bullets in guns with hair triggers. You handle them very carefully. You do not fire without consequences.

    This post of mine was originally in response to the adolescent male ravings on Digital Spy, which I felt were crass, vicious and insensitive. At the time I was inclined to think that Caroline Wyatt was simply a woman with a somewhat deep voice. I still think that. Trans women are still women.

    Just as trans men are still men.


  9. I was at university with Caroline from 1985-1989. She was clearly a woman. How sad that people in the media have to be subjected to such mindless criticism.

  10. nothing wrong with being a transgender just would like to know

  11. Dregj's comment above reveals the pervading problem. People feel they have a 'right to know'. They have no such right. If the lady in question has an unconventional medical history, and I for one don't know the answer, then she is entitled to keep it private. She shouldn't be asked. Nor is she under any onus to reveal all. Any more than Dregj is.


    1. I think people are so nieve, I think she's a wonderful and brave lady and only wish the best for her to go further in her career, absolutely love listening to her on the news..

  12. No, it's true, Caroline Wyatt WAS a man. I remember about thirty years ago 'she' was a 'he' wearing a suit with a bad hairstyle and looked like a cha wearing lipstick. Never mind what Wikipedia says, this IS the truth!


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