Panel shows are 'testosterone heavy'

...says the man behind many of them

Comedy panel shows are ‘testosterone-heavy bear pits’ – and that’s according to the man behind many of them

Bill Matthews, who co-created Never Mind the Buzzcocks and They Think It's All Over and produced Mock The Week, has slammed the male-dominated atmospheres he helped to established.

Speaking to trade magazine Broadcast, he said: ‘A lot of panel shows are too competitive and testosterone heavy, including some I've worked on.

‘Mock the Week is the one people talk about, as guests find it hard to get a word in. It's a by-product of putting a group of men together.’

He said attempts to include more women during his stint on Mock The Week in 2005 and 2006 resulted in their rare appearances appearing ‘tokenistic’.

Matthews says he wants to redress the balance by including more female comics than men in his new arts panel show, What the Dickens?, which airs on Sky Arts One.

The show is hosted by Sandi Toksvig and the second series, which begain last night, features Sue Perkins as a regular team captain opposite Chris Addison.

‘Once we finish the second series, there will be more women on the show than men. I think that is a first for British television,’ he said.

Toksvig added: ‘Without naming any programmes, I can tell you that women often get edited out,’ she said. Testosterone-fuelled arguments between the boys make it difficult. Women’s jokes aren't about trying to top the last person or ‘win’ the game. I think that if more women were in charge, everyone would get a look in.’

Other guests lined up for this series include Robin Ince, Dave Gorman, Jenny Eclair, Germaine Greer and Mark Steel.

Here is a clip from last night’s show:

Published: 13 Nov 2008

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