Are Panel Shows Really Lacking In Female Panelists?

Last year, 72% of all of guests on Have I Got News For You were men.

In an interview with The Observer last Sunday, the BBC’s Director of Television, Danny Cohen, said that panel shows consisting of only men were wrong.

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He told the paper: “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.”

But how many female guests are appear on panel shows? Are there really not enough?

youtube.com (BBC), youtube.com (BBC), channel4.com (Channel 4)

I looked at five long-running and popular British panel shows, and researched every single guest they had for each new episode broadcast in 2013. I then worked out what percentage of these guests panelists who appeared were male, and what percentages of guest panelists were female. Regular presenters and panelists were excluded.

So, how do the women fare?

5. Out of the five shows I looked at, 8 Out Of Ten Cats was the least unequal - but still had almost twice as many male panelists as female. In 2013 66% of all guests were male.

Channel 4

With the exception of regulars Jon Richardson, Sean Lock and Jimmy Carr, there were 53 male guest appearances and 27 female guest appearances in 2013.

What is noticeable however is that the same male guest stars kept reappearing on the show (Joe Wilkinson appeared on 5 seperate programmes), but women guests, such as Jamelia and Claudia Winkleman, only appeared twice.

Male - Joe Wilkinson (5 times), Jack Dee (4 times), David O’Doherty (4 times), Henning Wehn (4 times), Chris Ramsey (3 times), Josh Widdicombe (3 times), Paul Foot (2 shows), Nick Helm (2 times), Krishnan Guru-Murthy (2 times), Richard Bacon, Kian Egan, Tony Law, Stephen Mangan, Danny Dyer, Miles Jupp, Rob Beckett, Matt Edmondson, Vernon Kay, Jimeon, Greg Rutherford, Steve Jones, Matt Forde, Richard Hammond, Alex Brooker, Miles Jupp, Tinchy Stryder, Alex Brooker, Jordan Stephens, Louis Walsh, Rob Beckett, Andrew Flintoff, Trevor Noah and Alan Davis.

Female - Jamelia (2 times), Claudia Winkelman (2 times), Carol Vorderman (2 times), Alex Jones (2 times), Katherine Ryan (2 times), Roisin Conaty (2 times), Gemma Collins, Tina Malone, Rachel Riley, Tess Daly, Victoria Coren, Denise Van Outen, Nancy Dell’Olio, Susan Colman, Mel Giedroyc, Helen Flanagan, Aisling Bea, Tess Daly, Katherine Ryan, Jo Brand, Lorraine Kelly.

4. QI was marginally worse. Last year 67% of guests were male.

BBC/Talkback Thames/Brian J Ritchie

With the exception of Stephen Fry and Alan Davies (who appear every episode), there were 32 male guest appearances but only 16 female guest appearances on QI last year.

Male - Jason Manford (4 times), Bill Bailey (3 shows), Jimmy Carr (2 times), Jeremy Clarkson (2 times), David Mitchell (2 times), Phill Jupitus (2 times), Ross Noble (2 times), Rob Brydon, Tim Vine, Jack Whitehall, Noel Fielding, Colin Lane, Josh Widdicombe, Trevor Noah, Graham Linehan, Tim Minchin, Danny Baker, Marcus Brigstocke, Johnny Vegas, Richard Coles, Richard Osman and Brendan O’Carroll.

Female - Sandi Toksvig (3 times), Jo Brand (3 times), Sue Perkins (2 shows), Julia Zemiro, Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan, Isy Suttie, Sarah Millican, Janet Street Porter, Victoria Coren and Victoria Wood.

3. Buzzcocks had more than twice as many male guests than female guests.

The split between male and females were similar to QI. There were 36 male guest panelists and presenters but only 17 female guests and presenter on Buzzcocks last year. This means that 69% of all guests were male.

Male - James Acaster, John Hannah, Dave Myers, Connor Maynard, Leathal Bizzle, Russell Howard, Peter Andre, Jason Gardner, Charles Cave, Tony Law, Matt Richardson, Jake Humphrey, David O’Doherty, James Arthur, Rylan Clarke, Eamonn Holmes, Jaymi Hensley, Shaun Ryder, Greg McHugh, both members of Rizzle Kicks, Paul Foot, Huey Morgan, Michael Bolton, Shane Filan, Seann Walsh, Jack Whitehall, Johnny Borrell, Alex Brooker, Kriss Akabusi, Wawrick Davis, Tom Fletcher, Alfie Bow, Chrid Ramsey, Dizzee Rascal, Jamie Cullum, Aston Merrygold.

Female - Aluna Francis, Stacey Solomon, Ana Matronic, Sara Cox, Eliza Doolittle, Iggy Azalea, Kristen Schaal, Alice Levine, Sarah Millican, Lissie, Laura Whitmore, Carol Vorderman, Diana Vickers, Katy B, Emma Willis, Foxes, Katherine Ryan.

2. On Have I Got News For You 72% of all guests were men. There were only 16 female guests.

BBC One / Hat Trick Productions

Not including Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, there were 41 males but only 16 female guests who were either panelists or presenters.

Male - Richard Osmon (2 times), Miles Jupp (2 times), Gyles Brandreth (2 times), Alexander Armstrong (2 times), Stephen Mangan, Brian Blessed, Ken Livingstone, Warwick Davis, Joe Wilkinson, Ray Winston, Renigald D. Hunter, Richard Coles, Ross Noble, John Cooper Clarke, Michael Fabricant, Robert Lindsay, Johnny Vegas, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Frank Skinner, Matt Forde, David Mitchell, Danny Baker, Dan Snow, Mark Steel, Stephen Merhcant, Hal Cruttenden, John Prescott, Max Kieser, Tony Law, Godfrey Bloom, Jack Whitehall, Richard Bacon, Robert Lindsay, Alan Johnson, Tim Loughton, Martin Clunes and Bernard Cribbins.

Female - Jo Brand (2 times), Joan Bakewell, Bridget Christie, Camilla Long, Mel Giedroyc, Deborah Meaden, Josie Long, Cathy Newman, Gabby Logan, Kirsty Young, Victoria Coren, Janet Street Porter, Katherine Ryan, Kathy Burke and Jennifer Saunders.

1. And the panel show that had the least women last year? Mock The Week. 87% of all guest panelists on the show last year were male.

BBC/Angst Productions

There were only 11 episodes of Mock The Week last year, but there were only three female guests in the whole series. Excluding presenter Dara O’Briain, Andy Hamilton, Chris Addison and Hugh Dennis who appeared each week, there were 33 male guest appearances but only 5 female guest appearances.

Male - Josh Widdicombe (5 times), Ed Byrne (5 times), Milton Jones (4 times), Gary Delaney (4 times), Hal Cruttenden (3 times), Rob Beckett (3 times), Miles Jupp (3 times), Nathan Caton, Chris Ramsey, Seann Walsh, Romesh Ranganathan, Stewart Francis and Alistair McGowan.

Female - Katherine Ryan (2 times), Holly Walsh (2 times) and Ava Vidal.

So women are not well represented on panel shows - and it doesn’t help that the regular presenters and panelists on each of these shows are ALL men.

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