Entertainment & Arts

Sandi Toksvig questions BBC all-male panel ban

Sandi Toksvig
Image caption Toksvig has appeared on several panel shows including BBC Two's QI

Radio and television host Sandi Toksvig has questioned the recent BBC pledge to have no all-male panel shows.

BBC director of television, Danny Cohen, announced in February that "we're not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them".

But in an interview with the TV Times, Toksvig said having more female hosts would be a better way of ensuring more women are represented on TV.

"If you get more female hosts, you'll... have more women taking part."

Toksvig, who is the new Fifteen to One show host on Channel 4, added: "They (female hosts) bring a different tone and make it easier for other women to feel comfortable about participating, so I would be a big fan of more female hosts on quiz shows."

'Token women'

Toksvig also acknowledged a lack of older, female faces on television: "I'm 55, at a point where females tend to disappear from our screens."

Mock the Week host Dara O Briain criticised the BBC all-male panel ban last month, saying female guests would now just be seen as "token women".

In a Radio Times interview, O Briain said stand-up comedy naturally tended to have a larger share of male comics.

O Briain said: "Legislating for a token woman isn't much help."

He added: "It's remarkable that this amount of time is spent debating women on comedy shows rather than, say, Question Time.

"A certain number of women want to go into comedy, and they should be cherished and nurtured, but you're not going to shift the fact that loads more men want to do it."

But several female comics including Victoria Wood have criticised "testosterone-fuelled" shows, and Jo Brand has said she no longer considers appearing on BBC Two's Mock The Week.

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