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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Dara says BBC ban on all-male comedy panels will just lead to 'token woman' tag

Ruth Egan

Published 25/02/2014 | 02:30

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Programme Name: Dara O Briain's Science Club - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publication until: n/a - Picture Shows:  Dara O'Briain - (C) BBC - Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins
Dara O Briain

COMEDIAN Dara O Briain has hit out at the BBC's decision to ban all-male line-ups for comedy panel shows.

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The 'Mock The Week' host said that the ban would cause viewers to see any female guest as a "token woman".

"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," he said.

In an interview with 'Radio Times', O Briain said instead of dwelling on the representation of women in comedy, efforts would be better spent on tackling gender imbalances in other areas, such as the amount of women in computer coding.

His comments follow BBC director of television Danny Cohen's pledge that "we're not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them".

But O Briain suggested viewers would now see guests in a different light and said if changes were needed they should have "evolved".

However, Orla O'Connor from the National Women's council said that they welcomed the new rule.

"I think it's a positive step by the BBC. I think one of things that The National Women's Council in Ireland has been raising in Ireland is to have more women on radio and TV and absolutely moving away from having all-male panels."

Irish Independent

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