ITV's all male comedy writing ban

Barrychuckle

Well-Known Member
For those of you in the UK you may be aware that ITV has banned all comedies written by males or male only teams, the rumour is the BBC is expected to follow suit very soon. I'm hopefully not wanting to appear sexist as some wonderful comedies have been written by female writers such as Miranda or one of my very favorites Dinner Ladies. However I'm a little uncomfortable with this as some of the best comedies have come from male only writers, Only Fools & Horses, Porridge, Dads Army and of course our very own comedy.

Clearly this is a sign of the times and I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not, but personally I feel comedy should be chosen on its merits. I also wonder whether LOTSW would have been any better if Roy Clarke was compelled to have a female co-writer or not?

Sorry if this is a little controversial for a site about the 'gentle comedy' but I'd be interest to canvass opinion?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-48668652
 

RickAns

Well-Known Member
Instead of outright banning all male teams maybe this lady should instead create a female group team pool of writers and support their content along side what is currently being done. Give them a venue to grow and cultivate their talents. The competition would be well needed and it may even help improve things. Let the market place decide what programs from what writing teams they want to want to watch. Sounds better to me than outright banning one group.

Would French and Saunders or Absolutely Fabulous been as funny if they had to have a guy on the writing panel? Or even if they were forced to replace one of the female writers (French or Saunders) for a guy? Don't think so!

Imagine if a major production studio announced there was an outright ban brought out and placed on all female only writing groups. That they had to have a male writer present. There would be outrage in the streets. I don't care what sex is writing the script as long as it is quality. Having quotas does not guarantee quality.

I am not for all male writing groups or shutting ladies out of them. Just think the best teams available should be brought together. Lord knows the rubbish that is put out for programming content nowadays. The media needs better ideas than this. If more people prefer mint chocolate chip ice cream to butterscotch. Does it make sense to ban mint chocolate chip because the butterscotch fans feel their flavor is not getting a fair shake??

This world has gotten to be a stranger place than it was when I was growing up. It sounds like she is perfectly OK with all female writers groups but has a problem with all male groups. Even if they may not be all male by design. Sounds more than a bit sexist to me. I agree it could be a tough field for ladies to get started and move up in. It could also be that there is a smaller percentage ratio of ladies population-wise who actually wish to work in that field. How is this not blatant sexual discrimination (against males) and against the law? You cannot ban one race only writing teams so you should not be allowed to ban one sex only writing teams. The lawsuits should start pouring in any day now.

It is a messed up world that females insist on being in the Boy Scouts, a Professional Boys Choir, a female wrestler in a male league or play in other men's sports. They have, I have seen articles where they are suing to do so. The other day I read part of an article where a young lady about 120 lbs wants to play in the NFL with guys who average 250 lbs and up. Not withstanding the logistics of needing a personal changing room for her. She could get seriously hurt for life when crushed in a tackle by some 6' 2" 300 lb guy from the other team. On the flip side, feminists would cry holy outrage if a boy wanted to be in the Girl Scouts or a guy wanted to play ladies basketball or whatever. Can you imagine if someone like Shaquille O'Neal suing to play in a pro ladies basketball league and the outrage there would be from the female side? I just don't understand it.
 
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Pearl

Super Moderator
Staff member
Speaking as a female, I totally agree it's PC gone mad. If the all male writing teams were specifically excluding females because of their gender then fair enough that's not on but if 2 or 3 Men come up with great writing but can't get it accepted because there are all man then I can bovine excrement! This will end up with male writing teams looking for a token female which is just insulting. There are plenty of good female writers so it's not as if they need a helping hand. You showed some examples of female comedy writers well here's some more programs by woman, Vera, Shetland, Scott and Bailey, Halifax, Killing Eve, Gentleman Jack, Flea Bag, Victoria and that's just off the top of my head. These are some of the most popular programs written by woman. Woman don't need this, it's insulting, we're doing alright Jack.
 

Barrychuckle

Well-Known Member
You both make very valid points, I'm not sure what the m/f ratio of the audience for LOSTW is, but I'd guess it has unisex appeal. Certainly when I went to Teddington Studios for audience laughter tracks there was equal number of men & women. I think LOTSW is a perfect case in point, it was written by an 'all male' writer yet it's probably sexist to men as they all seem to be idiots and the women are the sensible ones and certainly in charge!!!! :p:p:p
 

Pearl

Super Moderator
Staff member
You both make very valid points, I'm not sure what the m/f ratio of the audience for LOSTW is, but I'd guess it has unisex appeal. Certainly when I went to Teddington Studios for audience laughter tracks there was equal number of men & women. I think LOTSW is a perfect case in point, it was written by an 'all male' writer yet it's probably sexist to men as they all seem to be idiots and the women are the sensible ones and certainly in charge!!!! :p:p:p
I think it's got a pretty varied appeal but the question is if it had been written today would the studios had rejected it purely on the basis it was written by a man? If there are law suits in this I'd certainly be backing them.
 

Barrychuckle

Well-Known Member
I think it's got a pretty varied appeal but the question is if it had been written today would the studios had rejected it purely on the basis it was written by a man? If there are law suits in this I'd certainly be backing them.
If LOTSW was submitted to the BBC today, it would almost certainly be rejected due to 'it's lack of inclusion' or the like. The BBC would probably insist the main characters are rewritten as openly gay with gender fluid children :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

Peripheral

Well-Known Member
OH WOW, I have only just heard about this

. Normally I am a calm and respectful person but this idea to ban all male writer teams is b***** ridiculous. Women are just as funny but to put a ban on who writes what is beyond belief. Let's go back a few years. The funniest man in the world turns up for work to be told, 'YOU'RE SACKED'. Sorry ladies but you were to blame for that happening. I don't mean anyone in particular, just ladies in general. The funniest man in the world being told that he was no longer required. It beggars belief. I presume that you know who I am talking about...........................................Benny Hill. What have we got these days? Alternative comedy. I think that maybe Alternative TO Comedy would be a better title.
I do speak from experience. I was in a double comedy act for some years. A belly laugh is good for you but to try and block humour to the public because it may contain material that some people may find offensive is just not comprehensible. If you don't like something, SWITCH IF OFF.
Mr Morecambe, being a comedian who had an all-male team of writers, what do you think of the idea so far? "RUBBISH"...
 
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maltrab

Administrator
Staff member
Not having a TV Licence for several years I cannot speak of what is on the box these days, I still recall the quality of what was supposed to be comedy 5 years ago and it was utter rubbish, with just the rare show that managed to pass through the filters of what they think is comedy, as so many folk have said, if you don't like something then change the channel or turn it off, it is what we did years ago, so I decided to turn it off for good, with the money I have saved I have built up a good collection of shows that we both like to watch. So many folk seem to be offended these days, I suspect if old shows like Alf Garnett were repeated they would all have Cardiac arrest
 

RickAns

Well-Known Member
Thank you Pearl for a ladies perspective. I hope this PC and Social Justice stuff is something the world can shake off soon before it ruins society as we know it.
 

billyd601

Well-Known Member
Rick I think there no chance of that happening the uk is politically correct bonkers, am glad I have lived through a time when these kind of absurd things wouldnt have even been thought of, strange thing is they are making things worse as to me those ideas sound sexist.
 

Pearl

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thank you Pearl for a ladies perspective. I hope this PC and Social Justice stuff is something the world can shake off soon before it ruins society as we know it.
I can honestly say ( speaking as a woman ) that very few of my sex would support this, my daughter is an avid runner, mostly though mud, but a few years ago she was disgusted to find that there are woman only running clubs and also a few woman only waves in mud runs, she refused to take part in any such events. I know men have a bad rap and yes there are justifications for that BUT how are men to learn how to act respectfully around woman if we're separated all the time? It's another form of segregation and all forms of segregation is just plan wrong.
If this PC nonsense carries on it'll but woman's rights back decades because people will be so peeed off by it they won't take it seriously. It's time we stopped listening to a handful of feministas and ask the average woman what she wants ..... And we don't want this!
 

captain clutterbuck

Well-Known Member
The MeToo movement quite rightly brought all sorts of issues to the attention of the world at large and exposed all these predatory men who prayed on often vulnerable women . It highlighted all sorts of other issues including equality in terms of payments made to stars and supporting staff in the entertainment industry . Thankfully it has offered an opportunity to women where doors were firmly closed in the past .

I have noticed of all the Entertainment companies Sky has offered positions to women in their shows where previously it was male dominated . A significant number of News Presenters and more poignantly Football Pundits on their shows are women . The choice is plain all should have an opportunity to write and the team chosen should surely be the one that has the most impressive idea whether that is all male , all female or mixed teams of writers.
 

Barrychuckle

Well-Known Member
Let's be brutally honest when you list the great comedies off, Only Fools & Horses, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Dinner Ladies LOTSW, Keeping Up Appearances, Porridge, Dads Army, One Foot In the Grave, Steptoe & Son and the list goes on...... the common factor ? BBC commissioned. Other than Rising Damp I'm genuinely struggling to think of any comedy on ITV that was anything better than mediocre. So this stance is brave as ITV is hardly renowned for churning out decent comedies anyway. Can anyone else think of an ITV comedy that would make it into a UK top 10 of all time?
 

JBCat

Well-Known Member
I agree this is political correctness gone mad. It was probably an idea put forward with the best of intentions but in practice, having a "token" female or females in a male writing team (or vice versa - token male(s) in female writing team) would seem so forced and artificial and I'm sure would stifle creativity. What next, comedies written by a computer which has been programmed to give offence to no-one?

To answer Barrychuckle's question "I also wonder whether LOTSW would have been any better if Roy Clarke was compelled to have a female co-writer or not?" - Very much doubt it! Roy Clarke's writing is perfect as it stands.
 

captain clutterbuck

Well-Known Member
Let's be brutally honest when you list the great comedies off, Only Fools & Horses, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Dinner Ladies LOTSW, Keeping Up Appearances, Porridge, Dads Army, One Foot In the Grave, Steptoe & Son and the list goes on...... the common factor ? BBC commissioned. Other than Rising Damp I'm genuinely struggling to think of any comedy on ITV that was anything better than mediocre. So this stance is brave as ITV is hardly renowned for churning out decent comedies anyway. Can anyone else think of an ITV comedy that would make it into a UK top 10 of all time?

Their Big hitters were On the Buses, Benny Hill, Love thy Neighbour, Bless This House, Duty Free, George and Mildred,Only When I Laugh,Man About the House, Mr Bean all drew huge audiences in their time but none really matched BBC comedies . I did have one show I enjoyed which starred " The wild man of the woods" aka Hywel Bennett which was Shelley but it was always shown very late in the evening. Another minor show that waas well liked is the Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs with David Jason but it flopped in the bosses eyes and was dropped after one series
 

Barrychuckle

Well-Known Member
I agree ITV had some very popular comedy, I particularly like George & Mildred with our very own Brian Murphy, Yootha Joyce was also amazing and would have made a wonderful addition to the ladies in LOTSW. On The Buses had a massive following at the time, but the critics absolutely panned it as being unfunny and I tend to agree. Interestingly most of the ITV comedies look very dated when you watch them today, but the BBC greats tend to be timeless. I feel the Head of ITV Comedy needs to realise beggars cannot be choosers, and by arbitrarily banning all male talented writers they will continue to churn out sub standard programmes.
 

maltrab

Administrator
Staff member
Maybe we were all spoilt with TV in the days of 3 channels, I feel it is the same with music these days, I find it hard to uncover much in the way of music talent these days, yet years ago it fell out of the radio on a regular basis, you would hear something that would grab your attention and in my case the first chance I got I would be in the record shop and probably buying the album, and sometimes in the shop they would be playing something else that grabbed my attention and all my wages would be gone.
In the days of great TV comedy you would bounce between ITV and the BBC almost on a nightly basis due to the choices you had to watch, the bounce has well and truly gone these days
 

Pearl

Super Moderator
Staff member
Maybe we were all spoilt with TV in the days of 3 channels, I feel it is the same with music these days, I find it hard to uncover much in the way of music talent these days, yet years ago it fell out of the radio on a regular basis, you would hear something that would grab your attention and in my case the first chance I got I would be in the record shop and probably buying the album, and sometimes in the shop they would be playing something else that grabbed my attention and all my wages would be gone.
In the days of great TV comedy you would bounce between ITV and the BBC almost on a nightly basis due to the choices you had to watch, the bounce has well and truly gone these days
You're right, as kids we had 3 channels and we'd have something to watch every night that wasn't wall to wall soaps which I hate, the more channels added the more chose the more it went down hill.
 
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