TV PRESENTER Charlotte Smith is to return to BBC1's Countryfile for the first time since an age ­discrimation ruling against the corporation.

The 50-year-old was one of four older female faces on the programme who were axed in 2009, leading to claims of ageism.

Smith's colleague Miriam O'Reilly, another of the presenters who was dropped, went on to win a landmark employment tribunal ruling against the BBC which decided she had been ditched because of her age. Also dropped were Michaela Strachan and Juliet Morris.

Loading article content

Ms Smith said she was told in November 2008 that the programme was being freshened up and that she was no longer needed despite 10 years' service

She claimed to have been badly treated, telling the tribual she was more than capable of working on the programme in its new format. She said she had heard there was a shortage of presenters in late 2009 and jokingly said she might be available, but added that she was told by a staff members that she "would not pass the prime time test as I am not young and pretty".

Reilly tweeted last night: "I knew my challenge would give opportunities to other older presenters - I'm just glad Charlotte Smith is one of them."