2:45 am - 02/11/2014

BBC bans all-male panels on comedy shows such as QI and Mock the Week

The director of BBC Television has banned all-male panels on comedy shows from now on.

Danny Cohen said that it is “not acceptable” that women have not been present on shows like QI and Mock the Week.

The change follows long-running complaints about the ‘testosterone-fuelled’ nature of shows such as Mock The Week, which is loaded with male regulars with little scope for female guests.

“We’re not going to have panel shows on any more with no women on them,” Cohen said. “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 panelists.

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.

In the most recent series, all the regular comedians on the most recent series of Mock the Week were men and only five of the 38 guest panelists were women.

The BBC’s entertainment controller, Mark Linsey, said that such programmes would be improved by the mix of sexes. “I’m making it clear to production teams that there’s just no excuse for delivering all-male guest lists,” he said

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 news was met with praise from many female comedians and TV viewers.

Katy Brand, who had her own show on ITV said: “Finally! Thanks you Danny Cohen.”

Controversial comic Frankie Boyle said: “My crazy idea would be that you have 50% women on panel shows and 50% female comedy commissions.”

Kate Kinninmont, chief executive of Women in Film and Television, a group for women working in the industry, said last year that several of these shows had made progress: “People said for years there are no funny women and it was a struggle to get women on shows like Have I Got News for You. But that has improved, as has the number of women on Question Time.”

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

However 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.

And Radio 4 DJ Libby Purves also questioned the move, saying yesterday: “Hmm. How often will the female be a decorative item, there to giggle at the chaps?”

Other people on Twitter described the move as “positive discrimination” and questioned if there were enough female stand up stars.

Jo Brand has previously highlighted a “practical problem” of supply and demand.

She said: “There are far more male comics than women. When I started, there were about 200 male stand-ups and about 20 female – roughly one woman for every two-and-a-half panel shows.”

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tankmachine 11th-Feb-2014 02:52 am (UTC)
lol good
jejejfeddddd 11th-Feb-2014 12:47 pm (UTC)
vanishingbee 11th-Feb-2014 02:52 am (UTC)
ms_mmelissa 11th-Feb-2014 02:53 am (UTC)
Good. I love cheesy panel shows but it’s so depressing how very white and male they are. Hopefully they can bring in some fresh talent.
blue_birds 11th-Feb-2014 03:47 am (UTC)
comalies 11th-Feb-2014 02:53 am (UTC)
I look forward to the male tears that this decision will inevitably provoke.
cryinonthemetro 11th-Feb-2014 03:07 am (UTC)
Reddit threw a shitfit, it was great
jaimelannister 11th-Feb-2014 03:08 am (UTC)
do you have a link?
snggdsyreus 11th-Feb-2014 03:13 am (UTC)
Seconding the link request. I want to downvote everything.

Edited at 2014-02-11 03:13 am (UTC)
comalies 11th-Feb-2014 03:15 am (UTC)
jellycar 11th-Feb-2014 03:17 am (UTC)
lmao pls link
vonlisbon 11th-Feb-2014 10:02 am (UTC)
lightwillguide 11th-Feb-2014 02:54 am (UTC)
Waiting for the male tears, lol
bodyline 11th-Feb-2014 02:54 am (UTC)

libra_iruka 11th-Feb-2014 02:56 am (UTC)
Yesssssss more Sandi Toksvig!
artemis_archer 11th-Feb-2014 03:07 am (UTC)
Omg I just listened to the audiobook of her book The Littlest Viking which she narrated and it was so funny/cute and she has a wonderful voice. I need to check out more of her stuff.
libra_iruka 11th-Feb-2014 03:49 am (UTC)
SHE HAS A BOOK?!?! Oh man, there goes some of my money...
zparklemotion 11th-Feb-2014 04:11 am (UTC)
yasemeowin 11th-Feb-2014 10:43 am (UTC)
OT but it looks like your icon is trying to escape it's purple boundaries :|
sparklylulz 12th-Feb-2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
literally my first thought, she is the hilarious and brilliant ugh perf
ophiodeiros 11th-Feb-2014 02:57 am (UTC)
well sarah millicent, miranda hart and the other 2 female comedians BBC has heard of will get awful lot of work now
roseorjuliet 11th-Feb-2014 09:04 am (UTC)
Miranda is great but Sarah is fucking terrible. uhhh
iantoj 11th-Feb-2014 09:23 am (UTC)
God I hate Sarah Millican. I used to like her until I saw her live. She's terrible.
xdecadentx 11th-Feb-2014 12:22 pm (UTC)
I know everyone loves Sarah, but I rarely actually find her funny.
quiet_storm 11th-Feb-2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
I think she has a cute accent and seems nice so you want to like her lol.
petecarl 11th-Feb-2014 02:57 am (UTC)
Awesome! Now to ban all white panels!
ctfobro 11th-Feb-2014 03:15 am (UTC)
justkeepworking 11th-Feb-2014 03:26 am (UTC)
frankthesheep 11th-Feb-2014 06:29 am (UTC)
mrsdracula 11th-Feb-2014 11:10 am (UTC)
playthefool 11th-Feb-2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, besides being mostly male, they're also very very white.
crystalzelda 11th-Feb-2014 03:00 am (UTC)
the_pinkdress 11th-Feb-2014 03:04 am (UTC)
i'm a canadian and i often watch the british comedy panel shows on youtube and stuff and this is definitely a problem i've noticed that really bugs me. and when they have a woman on, it's rarely a comedian, so she usually has to sit there all quiet and ~look pretty~ anyway. it's definitely an old boys club and i can't imagine how hard it must be to break in.
ophiodeiros 11th-Feb-2014 03:19 am (UTC)
ia although i do think most women who aren't comedians like victoria coren, nicole adams ... fit themselves right in bc they've got personality and useless celebs don't get invited (the only exceptions i can think of are bb, towie and geordie shore people but they serve the purpose as an amazingly oblivious laughingstock so it's perfect). also bbc and uk media scene in general is so small they pretty much all know each other so there's less unfamiliarity/awkwardness going on
generationxwing 11th-Feb-2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
I'm the same way, but occasionally, you get a female who just doesn't give a fuck, and it's hilarious. I'm thinking of someone like Jamelia or Paloma Faith on Buzzcocks. (There's a ton more, but those come right to mind.)

deseti_prsten 11th-Feb-2014 03:05 am (UTC)
I can't believe this is real. I've thought about how unfair it is for so long. I LOVE these shows, but come on with this all male bullshit.
sterek_hts 11th-Feb-2014 03:06 am (UTC)
Good, but tbh I don't find any of the current British female comedians to be funny and I won't be surprised if they turn into 8 out of 10 cat style shows, where they gang up on the female panelists.
missdisco 11th-Feb-2014 11:31 am (UTC)
doesn't 8 of 10 cats have the obnoxious jimmy car and/or justin lee collins.

I hope Dara O Briain would not stand for that shit.
sterek_hts 11th-Feb-2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
Jimmy Carr yep. I have high hopes for Dara so *fingers crossed* he doesn't allow shit like that to happen.
leopard_legs 11th-Feb-2014 08:42 pm (UTC)
I love 8 out of 10 cats but my god, the second there's a woman on there they lose their fucking minds
it's just a sexist, misogynistic wet dream
it all comes down to the woman being stupid or objectified for being beautiful
silentxmovies 11th-Feb-2014 03:06 am (UTC)

tho i don't really watch panel shows anymore, bar have i got news for you. mind u a lot of that is cos its almost always the same rly rly limited amount of ppl on ALL of them going round and round and round they quickly get annoying

basically i am bored witless of chris addison that man is not funny
836am 11th-Feb-2014 03:06 am (UTC)
More Richard Ayoade on Buzzcocks, please. Also would be awesome on QI.
schmanda 11th-Feb-2014 03:18 am (UTC)
More Richard Ayoade on anything, thanks.
beaddddddsss 11th-Feb-2014 03:36 am (UTC)
ia mte ikr yas etc.
reifica 11th-Feb-2014 03:40 am (UTC)
he's the only nonwhite british comedian i know :x he's amaaaazing tho
libre_m 11th-Feb-2014 11:17 am (UTC)
Stephen K Amos?
palmthejoker 11th-Feb-2014 08:59 pm (UTC)
Gina Yashere :)
yolleh 11th-Feb-2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
Doc brown tho
anna_a_karenina 11th-Feb-2014 03:51 am (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!! More Richard Ayoade on EVERYTHING.
milkradio 11th-Feb-2014 04:10 am (UTC)
iawtc he's hilarious
modernelegance 11th-Feb-2014 04:11 am (UTC)
Yes Please. I would love it if he and Josh Groban tagged teamed every other episode TBH.
bulastar 11th-Feb-2014 04:33 am (UTC)
mte and please put him in a Hollywood film worth a damn plz
moonsenorita 11th-Feb-2014 05:50 am (UTC)
Agreed! I'll also just take more of Was it Something I Said as well
bgwqlc 11th-Feb-2014 06:11 am (UTC)
I would love for him to be on QI.
libre_m 11th-Feb-2014 11:16 am (UTC)
I thought he would be *perfect* for the Doctor.
He's gorgeous, clever, and his style of comedy would be a nice contras to previous actors in the role. He can do awkward, cold, even dark comedy, without losing the warmth in the character.
At the very least, get him to write/direct an episode or two!
playthefool 11th-Feb-2014 12:17 pm (UTC)
YESSSS. I just need more of him, period.
diamond_dust06 11th-Feb-2014 12:44 pm (UTC)
I want him on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
xpirate_queenx 11th-Feb-2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
I'd die if we could get a full IT Crowd team on Buzzcocks.
leopard_legs 11th-Feb-2014 08:47 pm (UTC)
more Richard Ayoade in general, I say
denisecky 12th-Feb-2014 03:30 am (UTC)

Edited at 2014-02-12 03:30 am (UTC)
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