The BBC has made a stand against the male domination of quiz panel shows that pepper our TV schedules by banning all male line ups.
Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of TV has said: “We’re not going to have panel shows on any more with no women on them. You can’t do that. It’s not acceptable.” The news has been warmly greeted by the likes of Katy Brand on twitter
In the past, current affairs-based comedy panel shows like Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You have been criticised for their male-dominated line-ups. Today’s Observer noted that 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. Arts and entertainment-based shows like Never Mind the Buzzccoks tend to have a more balanced line-up.
A BBC spokesman said panel shows that had already been recorded but not yet been broadcast may feature all-male teams, but all those filmed in the future would include at least one female participant.
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.”
The BBC’s decision has led to a fair amount of debate over our Sunday roast at TVO Towers: Should panelists be selected purely on their own merit or should gender enter into it? What do you think?