Veteran newsreader Peter Sissons has launched a scathing attack on Five anchor Natasha Kaplinsky, according to the papers.

The 66-year-old – who announced this week he would be retiring at the end of 2009 after a 45-year career – told the Sunday Mirror that newsreaders should be ‘more than just pretty faces’.

“Natasha has done very well out of her looks,” Sissons said.

“I suppose any bright woman with good looks who can make herself £1m a year must be doing something right from her point of view.

“The world is stuffed with wannabes and wannabe TV presenters at the moment,” he added. “It should be a requirement that you don’t get to read the news unless you’ve been through the fire of frontline reporting.

“We’ve got to make sure the new generation of news presenters have what the old generation had, which is knowing how the world worked.”

Sissons also admitted he had not followed Natasha’s newsreading career very closely. “I’m one of the very many people who have never watched Five News from beginning to end,” he said.

Natasha, who used to co-present BBC Breakfast, moved to Five in 2007 and began presenting the news in 2008, with ratings boosted by 72 per cent as a result. The show’s rise in popularity was dubbed ‘The Natasha Effect’.