Mock The Week (BBC Two/Angst Productions; 2005-)

Key:  male   female   other/diverse 

By @astronomyblog & @LoveGraphs. Stats last updated 14 December 2016.

It seems there may have been at least 138 shows and 983 listed appearances. With 7 people per show, has 2% more appearances listed than required (and probably a similar percent of people) perhaps due to listing special guests. The host/captains/regulars have included Hugh Dennis (Regular × 138), Dara O'Briain (Host × 138), Andy Parsons (Regular × 117), Frankie Boyle (Regular × 55, Panellist × 1), Russell Howard (Regular × 54), Ed Byrne (Panellist × 44), Chris Addison (Regular × 36), Milton Jones (Panellist × 35), Josh Widdicombe (Panellist × 24), Rob Beckett (Panellist × 21), Gary Delaney (Panellist × 16), Rory Bremner (Regular × 10).


Total appearances:

90.0% (885)
10.0% (98)

Guest appearances i.e. ignoring the host/captains/regulars:

77.5% (337)
22.5% (98)


All people:

73.3% (66)
26.7% (24)

Guests i.e. ignoring the host/captains/regulars:

71.4% (60)
28.6% (24)


As Mock The Week is often singled out for being particularly bad with gender, regulars are sometimes asked for quotes. After BBC Director of TV Danny Cohen announced a requirement for at least one woman per comedy panel show, several regulars have been quoted saying they wouldn't have done that. Dara O'Briain is quoted as saying

"I wouldn't have announced it, is what I'd say... 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."
He goes on to add
"Pick up a copy of Time Out and go through open-mic nights and flick through the names and you'll find a ratio of 10-1 males to females".
Perhaps Dara has done that research. If he has, hopefully he'll share it. However, an analysis of Chortle listings gives a figure more like 18% women (5.5:1). A man on Twitter who tried to defend Dara's figures ended up with a sample of people suitable for Mock The Week consisting of 24% women (3.2:1). People who have been on Mock The Week have been almost 30% women although they make up only 22% of guests and 9% of all appearances. I haven't found actual data-based figures to back up a 10:1 claim for the comedy circuit.

Milton Jones has added his thoughts on the lack of women on Mock The Week by saying a formal policy is "counterproductive" and change should be by stealth. He goes on to add that things will improve with time. Although, given that Mock The Week seems to actually under-represented the circuit (based on real data), the only improvement has come from Danny Cohen's rule. However the 2014 rule still hasn't resulted in an episode with more than one woman on it. Mock The Week appears to have had, and still has, a limit of one woman per show.

In October 2015 Andy Parsons announced that he was quitting Mock The Week. He was quoted as saying "Perhaps this will be an opportunity to make a female comedian a regular".

Last updated: 2016/12/14