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Danny Cohen, head of the BBC's television output, has promised viewers that the corporation will not make any more all-male comedy panel shows. Following recommendations made by the BBC Trust last year, Cohen has underlined his determination to see women appearing in the habitually macho environment of panel shows such as QI and Mock the Week. Talking to the Observer about his plans for better representing his audiences on screenCohen said: "We're not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them.
It's not acceptable. Cohen, who ran BBC1 until last spring and before that was the controller of digital channel BBC3, also said he had work to do to make sure there are more older women featuring in the corporation's television programmes. A BBC spokesman said that while it is possible that some panel Bbc for woman only recorded several months ago may still appear without a female team member or chairperson, every episode recorded from now on will include at least one woman.
In December, BBC management told programme producers there was "no excuse" for not having women on comedy panel shows after new sex-representation objectives were set by the BBC Trust. In July last year, the Trust asked BBC director general Tony Hall to get more women on air "as a matter of urgency" throughout Panel shows were immediately chosen by Cohen as a priority and a problem that would be relatively straightforward to address.
In-house and external producers were told to ensure that panel shows and quizzes involved at least one woman. The BBC's entertainment controller, Mark Linsey, said that such programmes would be improved by the mix of sexes.Sex addiction: Five times a day 'wasn't enough' - BBC News
The initiative followed the publication of a document commissioned for the Cultural Diversity Network in which had singled out the panel shows QI and Mock The Week for "rarely having women represented". Attention focused on the issue inwhen Victoria Wood complained to the Radio Times about the "testosterone-fuelled nature" of such shows.
Television producers have argued that women often turn down the more competitive shows and Brand agreed that there are hefty disincentives, including the fears that they might not get a word in or may be edited to look stupid.
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 of women on Question Time. Mock The Week is repeatedly cited as the worst offender.
The topical show has an all-male line-up of regulars and series 12 managed to fill only five of 38 guest spots with female guests. Hugh Dennis, a Mock The Week regular, spoke recently about the armoury required by potential women guests.
Millican, he said, had a kind of quiet confidence that allowed her to rise above the boyish banter. She looks as if she is thinking, 'Oh you get on with it'. And then, when she says something, she does it brilliantly," he said. While television sitcoms starring women are enduringly popular — even if, in the case of Mrs Brown's Boysthe woman is a man — Armando Iannucci recently called for more women to write comedy scripts.
But Brand highlighted a "practical problem" of supply and demand early on: "There are far more male comics than women. When I started, there were about male stand-ups and about 20 female — roughly one woman for every two-and-a-half panel shows. The Observer BBC. This article is more than 7 years old.
Corporation is acting on recommendations by the Trust to boost female presence on screen. Vanessa Thorpearts and media correspondent.
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BBC chief: no more comedy shows with all-male panels