Ex-CBeebies presenter: 'Parents criticised my decision not to wear prosthetic arm'
Former CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell has defended her stance not to bow to parents who were critical of her for not wearing a prosthetic arm.
Ms Burnell, who was born with part of her right arm missing, faced calls from viewers of the BBC kids' show to cover up her stump for fear it was scaring their children.
The 37-year-old left the show after eight years in March, and has since revealed to ITV's Loose Women the scale of the backlash she received for not wearing an artificial limb.
Nine people went to the length of lodging official complaints with the broadcaster, she disclosed.
But speaking on Loose Women, Ms Burnell said she had considered herself "beautiful" without the limb since a young age - and described parents' complaints as "akin to racism".
"I'm very wary of this word hurtful and I think that makes it personal to me, which it was but in another sense was it was much broader than that,'" she told the show on Thursday.
"Almost akin to racism, it was a prejudice... misguided or afraid.
"Some children are scared of my arm - it’s a weird arm, lets just say it how it is - some children are scared of the dark, spiders. It’s the parents role to reassure the child."
From an early age the presenter refused to wear a prosthetic limb provided by doctors, something her parents eventually came to accept.
She simply found herself more comfortable without the prosthesis attached, the presenter explained.
"There was pressure to cover up my arm, my parents really tried to resist that, they were advised to tell me to wear a prosthetic, and I would tell my mum, "I'm more beautiful without it," she said.
"That was at four years old and they said, 'We know but you’ve got to wear it'. At nine my parents went to the doctor and said 'We can’t make her wear it.'"
Ms Burnell Cerrie first appeared on CBeebies in 2009, having previously starred in Holby City, Grange Hill, EastEnders and The Bill.