UK Panel Show Gender Breakdown

Key:  male   female   other/diverse 

By @astronomyblog & @LoveGraphs. Stats last updated 15 January 2017

Generally, panel shows on UK television include few female guests. Most have male hosts and male captains/regulars. Even omitting the regulars, the guests are mostly men too. It is a problem that half the population are under-represented in these long-running TV and radio shows.

Is the situation really that bad? In short, yes (but slowly improving). I've compiled some statistics for current, long-running, shows from comedy.co.uk, Love Graphs (thanks Richard!), just-a-minute.info, IMdB, iPlayer, BBC Genome, Wikipedia and broadcasts to illustrate the point. The table below is split into comedy panel shows and others*. Many of them are comedy panel shows so I've made a non-exhaustive list of funny women to provide inspiration for the show makers.

Comedy panel showsAll appearancesGuest appearancesTotal
appearances
EpisodesScore
/10
I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (BBC Radio 4)
96.9%
3.1%
79.9%
20.1%
22914582
Argumental (Dave)
94.5%
5.5%
86.4%
13.6%
220442
They Think It's All Over (BBC One)
94.4%
5.6%
83.9%
16.1%
10361482
The Blame Game (BBC Northern Ireland)
94.4%
5.6%
71.4%
28.6%
216483
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (BBC Radio 4)
90.0%
10.0%
87.5%
12.5%
3062
Mock The Week (BBC Two)
90.0%
10.0%
77.5%
22.5%
9831383
Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask (Dave)
87.7%
12.3%
82.2%
17.8%
65133
Have I Got News For You (BBC One)
86.6%
0.1%
13.3%
74.1%
0.3%
25.6%
22124424
Taskmaster (Dave)
85.7%
14.3%
80.0%
20.0%
112163
Just A Minute (BBC Radio 4)
85.3%
14.7%
61.1%
38.9%
44188775
QI (BBC One/Two/Four)
83.7%
16.3%
74.8%
25.2%
9861974
A League Of Their Own (Sky 1)
82.8%
17.2%
69.7%
30.3%
599855
Play To The Whistle (ITV)
82.0%
18.0%
82.1%
17.9%
111134
The Unbelievable Truth (BBC Radio 4)
81.7%
18.3%
77.2%
22.8%
5201044
Virtually Famous (E4)
81.3%
18.7%
68.1%
31.9%
203285
Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC Two)
81.2%
18.8%
68.3%
31.7%
18862685
Would I Lie To You? (BBC One)
81.1%
18.9%
67.0%
33.0%
546785
Does The Team Think... (BBC Radio 2)
80.0%
20.0%
75.0%
25.0%
80165
The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4)
79.6%
20.4%
73.4%
26.6%
41578735
8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4)
79.5%
20.5%
65.7%
34.3%
12161735
The Big Fat Quiz (Channel 4)
79.2%
20.8%
64.3%
35.7%
168246
It's Only A Theory (BBC Four)
75.0%
25.0%
40.0%
60.0%
2489
It's Not What You Know (BBC Radio 4)
74.6%
25.4%
66.7%
33.3%
67166
Duck Quacks Don't Echo (Sky 1)
73.5%
26.5%
64.7%
35.3%
68176
Bad Language (BBC Northern Ireland)
73.3%
26.7%
83.3%
16.7%
3064
Shooting Stars (BBC Two)
72.3%
27.7%
62.0%
38.0%
650727
Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled (Dave)
71.1%
28.9%
63.9%
36.1%
180367
Ask Rhod Gilbert (BBC One)
70.4%
29.6%
42.0%
58.0%
98169
Safe Word (ITV2)
70.3%
29.7%
73.1%
26.9%
91136
Go 8 Bit (Dave)
69.4%
30.6%
58.3%
41.7%
3667
Sweat the Small Stuff (BBC Three)
67.4%
32.6%
62.3%
37.7%
242327
8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4)
66.7%
33.3%
74.8%
25.2%
580666
Heresy (BBC Radio 4)
64.4%
35.6%
73.0%
27.0%
236586
Breaking The News (BBC Radio Scotland)
62.5%
37.5%
54.6%
45.4%
256518
Celebrity Juice (ITV2)
58.6%
41.4%
70.1%
29.9%
14121827
What The Dickens? (Sky Arts 1)
56.4%
43.6%
77.3%
22.7%
110227
Insert Name Here (BBC Two)
54.0%
46.0%
44.4%
55.6%
63910
Do The Right Thing (Comedy.co.uk)
49.5%
50.5%
69.9%
30.1%
184348
Global Pillage (The Spontaneity Shop)
48.8%
51.2%
31.6%
68.4%
84128
It's Not Me, It's You (Channel 5)
47.6%
52.4%
58.3%
41.7%
4269
Best Behaviour (BBC Radio 4)
45.8%
54.2%
61.1%
38.9%
2469
Dilemma (BBC Radio 4)
41.6%
58.4%
52.0%
48.0%
125259
Listomania (BBC Radio 2)
40.0%
60.0%
50.0%
50.0%
3069
Comedy total
81.4%
18.6%
70.0%
30.0%
266874748
Other panel shows
Out Of Order (BBC Radio 4)
96.7%
3.3%
87.8%
12.2%
5211272
Petrolheads (BBC Two)
93.3%
6.7%
91.7%
8.3%
3062
Fighting Talk (BBC Radio 5 Live)
90.3%
9.7%
89.8%
10.2%
26155262
The Last Leg (Channel 4)
87.7%
12.3%
66.3%
33.7%
4951055
The Infinite Monkey Cage (BBC Radio 4)
84.6%
15.4%
74.9%
25.1%
371724
A Question of Sport (BBC One)
77.4%
22.6%
83.9%
16.1%
288811184
Question Time (BBC One)
71.4%
28.6%
64.9%
35.1%
701313046
In Our Time (BBC Radio 4)
69.2%
30.8%
58.6%
41.4%
27567067
Call My Bluff (BBC One)
67.4%
32.6%
52.3%
47.7%
542110458
Gardener's Question Time (BBC Radio 4)
65.2%
34.8%
54.3%
45.7%
19194658
Loose Women (ITV)
19.4%
0.1%
80.5%
51.2%
0.2%
48.6%
1578624857
Petticoat Line (BBC Home Service/BBC Radio 4)
0.0%
100.0%
0.0%
100.0%
5731160
Other total
51.4%
48.6%
61.7%
38.3%
403888075

Discussion

Nearly all these long-running shows under-represent women even if you ignore the regulars. Few shows have equal representation amongst guests. I contend that some shows even under-represent the number of women on the comedy circuit (which, from various evidence, is around 17-24%).

Funny women

If you are looking for some funny women, here is a non-exhaustive list of suggestions (feel free to tweet me more suggestions)

Update 8 February 2014: The BBC's director of TV has said that "panel shows such as QI and Mock the Week will no longer have all-male line-ups". It is good to know the issue is being tackled. Hopefully it doesn't result in women being limited to one per episode.

Update October 2015: As I worried, Mock The Week seem to have used the 2014 ruling to limit women to one per episode. I agree with the departing Andy Parsons that they could take the opportunity to have a woman regular.

Please TV-land people: sort this all out.