Jason Manford: BBC announcement to end all-male panel shows has undermined female comedians

The comic says Danny Cohen's decision was a "brilliant idea" but should have been kept quiet to avoid making women feel like token guests

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Jason Manford says that by publicly announcing the end of all-male panel shows, the BBC has undermined female guests.

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The comedian told Radio Times that while BBC director of television Danny Cohen’s pledge for mixed-gender panels is a “brilliant idea”, the decision should have been made more subtly.

“I just don’t think they should have said it out loud. Why say it? Just do it, and then let it become a thing. By saying it, you’re undermining the female on the panel show because now she’s thinking, ‘Am I here because I’m funny or because they needed one?’”

Mansford, 33, also says it’s more difficult for women to gain success in comedy. “I always think stand-up is a bit like flirting. It’s harder for females sometimes to come out and be at the forefront because that’s not what we’re used to in our society. Generally the woman’s passive.

“When I see a female act who’s totally nailing it, I think, ‘Well she’s worked harder than most blokes to get to this point.”

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Read the full interview in the new issue of the Radio Times, on sale from Tuesday 10th March 2015