QI cre­ator: BBC’s rule over women on pan­els is to­kenism

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Alisha Rouse Show­busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

THE BBC’s in­sis­tence that at least one woman should be on every panel show is ‘to­kenism’, the cre­ator of QI said.

John lloyd said the com­edy quiz fea­tured more women than other panel shows but pro­duc­ers ‘can’t do it all’ when it comes to be­ing in­clu­sive with sex and race.

lloyd, who also pro­duced Spit­ting Image and Black­ad­der, said QI once had three women on its pan­els which he found ‘a bit to­kenis­tic’.

His com­ments come after the BBC an­nounced in 2014 that every panel show would in­clude at least one woman, after crit­ics slated all-male line-ups on pro­grammes such as Mock The Week.

The 66-year-old told Chel­tenham lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val: ‘We’re be­ing en­cour­aged to do di­ver­sity but there’s lot of dif­fer­ent types of di­ver­sity – sex, race – we can’t do it all.’

The pro­ducer said he had in­vited more women on to the BBC2 show – such as Dawn French and Jen­nifer Saun­ders – but they re­fused be­cause they didn’t want to ‘look silly’.

He added: ‘I had lunch with lenny Henry the other week and asked him to come on the show, but he wouldn’t agree. You can’t want more black and eth­nic mi­nor­ity peo­ple com­ing on and then say no.’

Stephen Fry stepped down from host­ing QI last year after 13 years on the show. His re­place­ment, great Bri­tish Bake Off’s Sandi Toksvig, is the first woman to present a main­stream com­edy panel show.

lloyd’s wife Sarah, who is di­rec­tor of QI limited, added: ‘We ask women to come on, but they won’t. You tell me who you’d like to see on the show and I can tell you we’ve asked them. It’s my main aim.’

Since the BBC banned all-male panel shows, Mock The Week has reg­u­larly in­cluded women but usu­ally just one per episode.

In June this year, the BBC2 top­i­cal show fea­tured two women on the pan­els for the first time in the show’s 162-episode, 12-year his­tory.

It comes after BBC found it­self at the cen­tre of a sex­ism row after it pub­lished its stars’ wages, which showed a gen­der pay gap.

Fig­ures re­leased in July showed the top seven earn­ing BBC stars are all men, with no fe­male names in any cat­e­gory above £500,000. A let­ter signed by more than 40 women in the BBC urged di­rec­tor gen­eral lord Hall to ‘cor­rect the dis­par­ity’.

Tur­moil at To­day – Page 42

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