ITV adopt BBC-like comedy diversity stance

Avatar

beaky

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 10:15am
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,566 posts

Ada and I, I think you mean.

Avatar

kate to the party

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 10:41am [Edited]
  • England
  • 46 posts

I think the male/female balance refers to writing teams rather than partnerships -e.g. for panel shows that operate under a writers' room system. Two male writing partners could probably still be hired as part of a larger writing team (as long as a good amount of women are also hired to that team as well!).

Also if you did get a sitcom commissioned as a male writing partnership, it might just mean your show gets shadowed by a couple of aspiring female writers during the production process (as is happening with Plebs).

AvatarBCG Supporter

Lazzard

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 11:46am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,476 posts

It's for Writers Rooms, apparently.
So it's not a 'ban' - it's a hiring policy.
Fair enough, if you ask me

AvatarBCG Supporter

garyd

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 12:22pm
  • England
  • 771 posts

If for Writers Rooms only then fair enough.
However, the article seems to suggest this is to be an all-encompassing policy, e.g. "Last year, when reviewing the gender balance of sitcom scripts she was sent, she realised that for every script she received from a female writer, she got five from men." and "I won't commission anything with an all-male writing team."
Therefore this would seem to imply that ITV would no longer commission anything written by writing teams such as Marks and Gran or Clement and La Frenais, unless they agreed to being shadowed. Where, in Laurence Mark's kitchen?
I do get I am being very simplistic but I just don't see this as wholly positive.

AvatarBCG Supporter

Lazzard

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 12:54pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,476 posts

Well, I sort of agree that the desire to be seen to be fair is in danger of outweighing the desire to create good comedy. But the truth of the matter is that ITV just don't do SitCom anymore - so why people, male or female, were sending them scripts is a mystery.

Avatar

kate to the party

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 1:46pm
  • England
  • 46 posts
Quote: garyd @ 18th June 2019, 12:22 PM


Therefore this would seem to imply that ITV would no longer commission anything written by writing teams such as Marks and Gran or Clement and La Frenais, unless they agreed to being shadowed. Where, in Laurence Mark's kitchen?
I do get I am being very simplistic but I just don't see this as wholly positive.

I'm probably also being simplistic here but not sure I get what the problem is with being shadowed? I mean, a chunk of episodes of Birds of a Feather have a female writer listed as the main credit (albeit not a particularly large chunk considering it is literally a show about female friendship) so I don't think Marks would mind *too* much.

I have to admit I'm not really an avid viewer of the few ITV sitcoms that currently exist (keep meaning to give Bad Move a go but never get round to it!) but it would be very weird for them to make a commitment to commissioning new writers without the intention to put more sitcoms on -or even new sketch shows (that's right; I'm daring to dream) so fingers crossed they put their money where their mouth is.

Avatar

Rood Eye

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 4:00pm
  • England
  • 2,579 posts

As Bob Dylan once said, the times they are most certainly a-changing.

Fear not, however, male writers of Great Britain for help is at hand in the form of my advice.

Continue to submit your scripts as usual but attach a note to each script explaining that you identify as female and that you intend to sue the arse off any person or corporate body that treats you as though you are not.

Sorted!

Avatar

Jeremy Dillon

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 11:07pm
  • Chesterfield, England
  • 53 posts

Until I saw this story in the news I didn't even realise that ITV actually had an head of comedy. Whilst ITV have made some good comedy dramas in recent years I'm struggling to think of any good sitcoms or comedy panel shows on ITV

In America most of the big comedy shows are written by large teams of writers but in this country most sitcoms have usually been written by even an individual writer or a couple of writers. If a couple of established male comedy writers pitched an idea to ITV would the channel really turn it down?

Avatar

Rood Eye

  • Tuesday 18th June 2019, 11:34pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 2,579 posts
Quote: Jeremy Dillon @ 18th June 2019, 11:07 PM

If a couple of established male comedy writers pitched an idea to ITV would the channel really turn it down?

I suspect the answer is a very emphatic "Probably!"

Had this policy been in force some years ago we would never have seen The Fast Show, Dad's Army, Blackadder, Only Fools and Horses or Bottom.

On the other hand, we might instead have seen comedy shows that were very much better: who knows what gems have been tossed into the bin over the years?

There can be little doubt that women can write tremendous comedy - alone, in partnership with other women, in partnership with men or in partnership with other women and men.

The only worry I have is that, for whatever reason, there have always been far more successful male comedy writers than there have successful female comedy writers and, given that there haven't been many successful female comedy writers, I'm wondering whether or not this new initiative is going to bring forward enough of them to make up for what is lost by not employing the male comedy writers that this initiative insists must be replaced.

If we can find a sufficient number of new writers like Carla Lane, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Victoria Wood, Julia Davis and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, I'll be quite happy to embrace this new initiative and give it a very enthusiastic thumbs up.

The snag is that women comedy-writers like the above are, it seems, exceedingly rare.

Of course, things are not always what they seem and it might well be that they're not rare at all. Hundreds of them might have been sitting at home lacking the confidence to try to succeed in what has always been a male-dominated industry.

One thing's for sure: the future of TV comedy is certainly going to be interesting.

AvatarBCG Supporter

Lazzard

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 9:45am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,476 posts
Quote: Jeremy Dillon @ 18th June 2019, 11:07 PM

. If a couple of established male comedy writers pitched an idea to ITV would the channel really turn it down?

No.
It's the unestablished writers who would find it harder because their point of contact would be a more junior member of the commissioning team who would be more interested in looking good in front of management than commissioning great comedy.

Avatar

Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 10:52am [Edited]
  • England
  • 2,579 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 19th June 2019, 9:45 AM

No.
It's the unestablished writers who would find it harder because their point of contact would be a more junior member of the commissioning team who would be more interested in looking good in front of management than commissioning great comedy.

That sounds encouraging for established writers but it's difficult to get away from the words of ITV's head of comedy (quoted on the BBC News website), "I won't commission anything with an all-male writing team."

Not many ifs and buts in that statement.

AvatarBCG Supporter

Lazzard

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 11:57am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,476 posts

Virtue signalling bollocks.
If Gervais & Merchant knocked on her office door she'd commission them like a shot.

Avatar

kate to the party

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 12:47pm
  • England
  • 46 posts
Quote: Rood Eye @ 19th June 2019, 10:52 AM

That sounds encouraging for established writers but it's difficult to get away from the words of ITV's head of comedy (quoted on the BBC News website), "I won't commission anything with an all-male writing team."

Not many ifs and buts in that statement.

I'm struggling to see what the problem is? Literally all an all-male comedy writing team with half a brain between them would have to do in this situation is find some women to work with, and bring them on board.

It seems like some of you think there is something inherently negative, or scary, even, about working alongside women. Do you think successful male writers think like this?

Avatar

Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 1:22pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 2,579 posts
Quote: kate to the party @ 19th June 2019, 12:47 PM

I'm struggling to see what the problem is? Literally all an all-male comedy writing team with half a brain between them would have to do in this situation is find some women to work with, and bring them on board.

It seems like some of you think there is something inherently negative, or scary, even, about working alongside women. Do you think successful male writers think like this?

Struggle no longer, my dear. I shall explain to you exactly what the problem is.

[IMPORTANT NOTE: THE APPARENTLY CONDESCENDING TONE OF THE PRECEDING SENTENCE IS INTENDED TO BE IRONIC AND IS, I THINK, ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE IN THE CONTEXT OF A DISCUSSION AMONG COMEDY-WRITERS AND COMEDY AFICIONADOS ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN WRITERS IN THE MALE-DOMINATED TV COMEDY-WRITING INDUSTRY]

I don't imagine for a single moment that there are many male comedy writers who would object in any way to working with women simply because the women were women rather than people of some other gender.

However, I find it very easy to imagine that there are a great many comedy writers (regardless of gender) who would object to having one or more other writers (regardless of gender or any other characteristic) foisted upon them with the threat that they either work with the new person/people or they don't work at all.