ONTD Political

BBC TV boss: No all-male panel shows

10:37 am - 02/10/2014
Panel shows such as QI and Mock the Week will no longer have all-male line-ups, the BBC's director of TV has said.

"We're not going to have panel shows on any more with no women on them," Danny Cohen told the Observer. "You can't do that. It's not acceptable."

His comments come two months after the BBC Trust was reported to have told executives there was "no excuse" for not having more female panellists.

Mr Cohen also said the BBC needed to get more older women on screen.

"We're getting better," he told the Observer, citing the example of historian Mary Beard. "But we need to get better."

In the past, comedy panel shows like QI, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You have been criticised for their male-dominated line-ups.

The Observer said all the regular comedians on the most recent series of Mock the Week were men and only five of the 38 guest panellists were women.

'Boys' game'

A BBC spokesman said some panel shows that had been recorded but not yet been broadcast may feature all-male teams, but that all those filmed in the future would include at least one female participant.

"There may be very rare occasions where shows that were already recorded - or whose panels were already booked ahead of the order - still have all-male line-ups, but hopefully the change should really become apparent," the spokesman said.

The move follows criticism from Victoria Wood, who has criticised such "testosterone-fuelled" shows, and Jo Brand, who said she no longer considered appearing on Mock The Week.

In 2012, writer Caitlin Moran said she had been asked to appear on "all the big panel shows" but turned them down because "I refuse to be the token woman".

"I think that's a boys' game that works for boys," she said. "It's not like they built it to screw women over, it's just that boys built it so they made it to work for boys. If I go on there as a token woman, it's not going to work for me," she said.

ms_mmelissa 10th-Feb-2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
I love watching all those silly British panel shows but it's true, it's so bizarre to watch some of them and just have it be a field of all white men. I hope the shows go above and beyond booking the one woman they're obliged to have per show and start having two or *gasp* even half the panelists be women.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
dvdsky81 10th-Feb-2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
Of all of them, QI's pretty good at having women on several times a series as well as 8 Out Of 10 Cats, but shows like Mock The Week are sorely lacking. I think it's Jo Brand that pretty much refuses Mock The Week due to not being able to get in joke/word in edgewise and what she does get in get's killed at edit, which is obviously shitty. So she's just given up on the show. They have several returning male comedians on the show but the women usual do 1, maybe 2, go's and you never see them again.
chaya 10th-Feb-2014 04:04 pm (UTC)
I love QI but it's not good at having women, it's just the best of the bad lot. Jo Brand's great but she's not always on and when she is, she's 1 person out of 5 on stage.
hey_spectrum 10th-Feb-2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
They need to extend this to putting a girl panelist on top gear
chaya 10th-Feb-2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
Don't subject some poor woman to those people augh

Edited at 2014-02-10 04:52 pm (UTC)
sarah531 10th-Feb-2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
Just as long as they don't do what they usually do, which is not allow any of the women to get a word in edgeways...
gooseberrywine 10th-Feb-2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
This is still shit. They should be aiming for 50/50
chaya 10th-Feb-2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
The Daily Mail would jizz itself and then faint
dienaid 10th-Feb-2014 06:33 pm (UTC)
More Jo Brand on QI? Yes please.
yndigot Favorite female panalists?10th-Feb-2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
Since we shall -- finally -- be seeing a bit more of them...

Who are your faves?

Who have you not seen on particular shows (or any shows) who you think would be fab?

(I know the one per show quota is still pitiful, but I'm still excited not to have anymore all male panels.)
chaya Re: Favorite female panalists?10th-Feb-2014 07:41 pm (UTC)
Sandy Totsvig is fab.

blackjedii 10th-Feb-2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
On one hand - yay.

On another hand - they have a female commentator on NBC Sports to handle their Premier League coverage.

She's a pretty blonde who mainly smiles and gives the report and defers to her male commentators to provide coverage and analysis on the games themselves.

Which lessens the impact.
yndigot 10th-Feb-2014 08:58 pm (UTC)
I will say that most of the most successful female panel show guests I can think of that you see a lot of now ('a lot' being sort of a relative term) actually do not tend to be the young/blonde/conventionally pretty types. There are a couple who are 20s/30s, thin, conventionally pretty, but also several older women, several less conventionally feminine gay women, heavier women... You really don't see many WoC, though. (Someone mentioned QI as being generally better than some of the other shows at having women, although still quite bad. I'd say QI can be relied on to have at least one woman in more than half the episodes in a series, at least for the last few series, but off the top of my head, I can only think of one WoC who has been featured...)

They do hold their own pretty well too, although some of that depends on the particular shows. Some shows seem to have more of a culture of men talking over any women panalists no matter what they do to be heard. :/
checkerdandy 11th-Feb-2014 02:11 am (UTC)
For being more light and fluffy than the other shows mentioned, Never Mind the Buzzcocks is actually one of the best at having women and PoC on their panels.
bethan_b_bad 11th-Feb-2014 02:29 am (UTC)
Would I Lie To You? is pretty good as well. And the way it's set up means that there are parts of the show which are always focused on them, so it's harder for them to get drowned out.

In related news: Rebecca Front needs to do more TV as herself.
mdemvizi 11th-Feb-2014 05:41 am (UTC)
Love British panel shows a lot. Been watching 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and sometimes they have an all-male panel but luckily Rachel Riley is always there and Susie Dent too. But adding a woman onto the panel would be nice too.
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