Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

June 10, 2009

Are panel games sexist?

Yes says Victoria Wood and although she is talking about TV panel games, clearly women haven't had a great run on JAM...

TV panel shows are too 'male dominated', claims Victoria Wood

Panel shows such as 'I'm Sorry I haven't got a clue' and 'Have I Got News For You?' are too "male dominated" according to the comedienne Victoria Wood.

Wood, one of Britain's most respected comedy writers, has become the latest television personality to criticise the laddish culture of "testosterone-fuelled" comedy panel shows like 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' and the 'Mock the Week'.

"A lot of panel programmes are very male-dominated, because they rely on men topping each other, or sparring with each other, which is not generally a very female thing," she told the Radio Times.

She added: "I felt I held my own".

The double BAFTA winning comedienne will appear in the 51st series of the radio programme, I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue, the first show go on air without Humphrey Lyttelton, who died in April last year, aged 86.

In his role as chairman for 35 years, he gave the panel of four comedians "silly things to do" in what was billed as "the antidote to panel games".

Wood, 56, will make her debut appearance on the show with veteran panellists Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden in a recording chaired by Stephen Fry, who is currently 'hot-desking' the role with Jack Dee and Rob Brydon.

Wood, the creator of Housewife 49 and Dinnerladies, has become the latest television personality to criticise the laddish culture of TV comedy.

Sandi Toksvig, who hosts The News Quiz on Radio 4, has also said that female panellists were often edited out of the final cut.

Toksvig said last year: "Testosterone-fuelled arguments between the boys make it difficult. Women's jokes aren't about trying to top the last person or 'win' the game," she said "I think that if more women were in charge, everyone would get a look in."

Bill Matthews, the co-creator of Never Mind the Buzzcocks agreed that panel shows were male-dominated "bear pits" which were "too competitive and testosterone heavy".

Last year, Mariella Frostrup accused Have I Got News For You of being sexist towards female guests.

Describing the panel game as a "disgrace", she said that women were invited to appear only as a token presence to be ridiculed by the "testosterone-driven" team captains, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "There are far fewer female comedians than male so despite wanting to feature more women on our panel shows we often can't. We are working to address this issue though and many women have featured on our shows recently or will be featured in upcoming series including Would I like to you, Shooting stars and QI.

Victoria Wood will appear as a panelist on the first 2 episodes of the new series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue starting on the 15th June 2009

So what do we think - is the problem that the men spend too much time bickering with each other and Nicholas - and that's just not womanly?


Anonymous Linda said...

jo brand has also joined the debate according to the comedy web site chortle . she has refused to go back on mock the week again siting much the same comments as victoria wood about sexism on pannel games .

the one thing i would hate to see is women being picked for shows such as that because they are women . i prefare someone to be picked because they are funny what ever thier gender . sadly there are more male comedians then women . that seems to be a fact . i hope it can change though .

9:15 am  

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