Main content

Sisters in Satire: The Pioneering Women of Comedy

Samira Ahmed and guests discuss women's evolution in satirical comedy with Arabella Weir, Lissa Evans and Tiffany Stevenson.

From the dawn of broadcast comedy, women played a vital but largely overlooked role; more in the background rather than the forefront. What impact did the sisters of satire from the 60s and 70s have on the comedy we know today and what was their cultural influence? In the less enlightened sixties and seventies, women were often the joke, rather than making them.

Just because they weren’t the stars of the show didn’t mean their influence wasn’t felt. June Whitfield, Eleanor Bron and Miriam Margolyes were all quietly but firmly making their name in comedies such as The Glums, The Establishment Club and The Betty Witherspoon Show. These women paved the way for comedians and actors such as Jan Ravens, Meera Syal and Linda Smith.

Samira Ahmed in conversation with actor and director Arabella Weir, former radio producer and novelist Lissa Evans and stand-up comedian and actress Tiffany Stevenson discuss some of the best sitcoms from the Radio 4 archives and listen again to the joys of Week Ending, Goodness Gracious Me! and a Brief History of Time Wasting and assess the impact these funny women have had on contemporary comedy and the extent of their satirical legacy.

This programme takes us on a comic journey from the early 1970s to the present day and celebrates women in satire.

Producer: Belinda Naylor

Made for BBC Radio 4 Extra

12 days left to listen

3 hours

Last on

Sat 2 Nov 2019 19:00