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

Key:  male   female   other/diverse 

By @astronomyblog & @LoveGraphs. Stats last updated 28 December 2019.

It seems there may have been at least 173 shows and 1264 listed appearances. With 7 people per show, has 4% 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 × 173), Dara O'Briain (Host × 173), Andy Parsons (Regular × 117), Ed Byrne (Regular × 63), Frankie Boyle (Regular × 55, Panellist × 1), Russell Howard (Regular × 54), Chris Addison (Regular × 36), Rory Bremner (Regular × 10).


Total appearances:

86.3% (1091)
13.7% (173)

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

70.3% (410)
29.7% (173)


All people:

68.1% (77)
31.9% (36)

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

66.0% (70)
34.0% (36)


As Mock The Week has previously been singled out for being particularly bad with gender, regulars were sometimes asked for quotes. After BBC Director of TV Danny Cohen announced a requirement for at least one woman per comedy panel show (in 2014), several regulars were quoted saying they wouldn't have done that. Dara O'Briain was 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 went 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 had done that research but he didn't share it. An analysis of Chortle listings gave a figure (in 2014) of more like 18% women (5.5:1). A man on Twitter who subsequently 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 made (in 2014) 9% of all appearances. I didn't find data-based figures to back up a 10:1 claim for the comedy circuit.

In 2014 Milton Jones 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. At that point, given that Mock The Week actually under-represented the circuit (based on real data), the only improvement had come from Danny Cohen's rule. However the 2014 rule still hadn't resulted in an episode with more than one woman on it. By 2015 Mock The Week still appeared to have had 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".

In summer 2017, in series 16, Mock The Week finally had a standard episode with more than one woman on it. There were two more episodes with more than one woman in 2017. 2018 has seen a marked improvement. In 2019, series 18 had two women on every episode.

Last updated: 2019/12/28