Brick has got involved in a row between TV presenter Mary Beard and critic A. A. Gill, who said she should be kept away from cameras because of her looks.

Having worked in TV for nearly 20 years, she argues that a TV presenter’s looks “dictate” how many viewers tune in.

Brick wrote: “While there is no denying that Ms Beard is a supremely intelligent and fiercely ambitious woman, there is absolutely no chance of her becoming a successful broadcaster in prime-time slots on flagship TV channels.

“The plain truth is that Ms Beard is too ugly for TV.”

Beard wrote a piece in the Daily Mail last week entitled “Too Ugly for TV? No, I’m too brainy for men who fear clever women”.

Brick added: “If I were Ms Beard’s executive producer, I would congratulate her on the publicity this rumpus has created.

“Then I would do what her bosses should have done when she signed her BBC contract: sit her down and discuss a make-over.”

Brick goes on to say that female TV presenters and experts in their field should and often do spend time keeping their weight down and having regular tanning and beauty maintenance.

She adds: “These are university-educated individuals who have discreetly undergone nose jobs and eyelifts — recognising that to invest in their face is to invest in their future.”

Another Daily Mail columnist, James Chapman, has hit back, saying: “Unlike Brick, Professor Beard, of course, already is a successful broadcaster in a prime-time slot on a flagship TV channel.

“Her series has rightly won critical garlands, and it seems certain the BBC will commission her to do another.

“Doubtless Brick represents a section of the community who favour ‘vanilla’ television, and tune in to see what Tulisa or Alesha might be wearing that week.

“She is of course entitled to her view, and indeed to reach for the ‘off’ switch if she really can’t get past Professor Beard’s appearance.”