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3,374: Women on QI

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Recently, I listened to an episode of Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces podcast in which he was talking to British comedian Josie Long. The topic came up of “quotas” with regard to panel shows having a female comedian on every episode. It’s worth a listen. That particular segment of their conversation begins around the 26 minute mark.

In 2014, the BBC’s director of TV said that there would no longer be all-male line-ups on BBC panel shows. So I thought it would be interesting to do some research, and have a look at who appeared on every episode of QI.

I like QI. It’s the only British panel show that I try to watch every episode of. I wanted to point that out only because I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not picking on one show in particular. I chose to look at this show because I like it, and because it’s on the BBC.

In the analysis below, I’ve not included the unscreened pilot, compilation episodes, or the special Comic Relief and Sport Relief episodes. I’ve included the show’s host (Stephen Fry for the first 13 series, Sandi Toksvig for the most recent one) and regular guest Alan Davies in the numbers, as it seems to me that this is about the amount of men and women on the screen at any time, not just about the people who appear as guests.

Bigger here

The BBC decision occurred before Series L, but as you can see, they’d already begun a process on QI of upping the female presence in the two previous series.

We are getting closer to a truer representation of the UK population. The most recent series’s 40% female participation is a vast improvement on the third series’s low point of just 6.7% of people being women.

What would it take to have a 50-50 male-female split? Well, if in the next series, there were just eight more women than the 16 guests and 16 Toksvig appearances, we’d be there. That’s just one more women every other episode. Or another way of looking at it: an equal number of male and female panelists half the time.

One interesting thing, though, about the one (so far) Toksvig-hosted series: there’s never been more than one female guest in any of her episodes. When Stephen Fry was host, that occurred 13 times, ten of which were in the four series immediately before this Toksvig-hosted series.

Looking at the numbers a bit deeper, aside from her 16 episodes as host, Sandi Toksvig was also a guest 16 times. Of the total 152 female guest appearances, the four women who’ve been on the show the most make up half of that number: Jo Brand (37), Sandi Toksvig (16), Sue Perkins (15), Sarah Millican (8).

On the 13 episodes with more than one female guest, all but one of those shows included Jo Brand, Sandi Toksvig, or Sue Perkins as one of the female guests.

And while we’re here, it’d be wrong not to mention people of colour. This is an area where QI is a lot weaker. According to the 2011 census, people of colour make up 12.1% of the UK population. On QI, only 1.19% of participants have been people of colour. 12 total appearances from nine people. Only three of those nine were women of colour.


The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Misread by Fazerdaze

On this day
World Cup, part 9, 22 June 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Megathrust earthquake

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Written by Craig

June 22nd, 2017 at 1:36 am

Posted in Infographics

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