For those who don’t reside in the UK, take it from me: British television broadcasters LOVE panel shows. If there’s one thing they love more than panel shows, it’s panel shows with a pseudo-political leaning and if there’s one thing they love more than that, it’s panel shows with a pseudo-political leaning under the pretext of a quiz filled with men. They love them so much that British viewers have two whole channels (Dave and Dave Ja Vu) devoted to these kinds of shows. (The thrill!)

Over the last couple of weeks, however, some new TV law is set to change the face(s) of the great British panel show forever. During one of their no doubt daily ‘let’s talk about the panel shows’ brainstorming sessions, whoever makes these decisions introduced an all-male ban on future panel show recordings. BBC director of television, Danny Cohen, announced earlier this month that “we’re not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them.” So far, so good.

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Since then, resident panel show overlord and host Dara O’Briain has objected to the token woman rule, claiming, basically, that more men are always going to want to do comedy, so there must exist some inherent funniness bias in the population’s biology which simply cannot be reversed. “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. Well, I should think that’s exactly what the new rule aims to shift actually, but, whatever.

Anyway, O’Briain has since clarified his comments on BBC 5Live this Tuesday, saying “I have nothing against this idea that there be women on panel shows or indeed that quietly you ask panel shows to make sure there are women on panel shows. My only objection was to announcing it.”

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That may or may not be true, but you’d think someone with that opinion would aim to avoid talking about it and thereby drawing additional attention it, but then again, it probably isn’t true, so there you go.

Who knows, if gender equality carries on at this rate, we may have a Davina panel channel to add to Dave and Dave Ja Vu. A girl can dream.

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