Dara O'Briain slams BBC's all-male panel ban

Dara O'Briain

Dara O'Briain

'Mock the Week' presenter Dara O'Briain has slanned the BBC's decision to ban all-male panel shows and feels the new ruling will make female comics on his show feel like the "token woman".

Dara O'Briain worries the BBC's decision to ban all-male panels will lead to females being considered the "token woman".

The 'Mock the Week' host host has hit back at BBC head of television Danny Cohen's recent ban on all-male panels on its comedy shows, insisting it would have been better to make such changes behind the scenes.

He explained: "I wouldn't have announced it, is what I'd say. Because it means [comediennes] Katherine Ryan or Holly Walsh, who've been on millions of times, will suddenly look like the token woman. It would have been better if it had evolved without showing your workings, if you know what I mean.

"Legislating for a token woman isn't much help."

The 42-year-old comic claimed female panellists were already being prioritised by 'Mock the Week's' all-female commissioning editors to ensure diversity on the show.

He said: "We bring through female comics earlier than we do male comics because there is such a tiny pool of female stand-ups. But this makes it even tougher for them."

Dara also claims stand-up comedy naturally tends to draw more male comics than female comics.

He added to Radio Times magazine: "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.

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


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