Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
5 December 2019updated 09 Jul 2021 7:56am

It’s 2019, and the BBC is still using all male panels on Question Time

By Media Mole

Here’s the panel for tonight’s edition of the BBC’s  Question Time programme. See if you can spot what’s missing:

If you said the Green Party or Plaid Cymru then, yes, you’re right. But there are only five panellists, and it’s the last show before the election, and there are five parties polling higher, and needs must.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy


So your mole isn’t too concerned that somewhere around 5 per cent of the electorate are not represented on this panel. What is more of a problem is that half the human race isn’t. It’s 2019, and the BBC political team have somehow convinced themselves that an all-male panel is in some way fine, even though it very obviously isn’t.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up

There will be a woman on the programme, of course: Fiona Bruce, who has presented it since January. But on that basis, there is a woman on the panel every week, which is a bit of a get out of jail free card for the producers’ abject failure to even consider the gender balance on the show. “The chair is a woman” is no more of an excuse than “There is always a woman’s face on the banknotes”.

The election is in a week. People are busy. Everyone is stressed. Not everything is going to be perfect. But all the same, BBC – seriously?

UPDATE: Labour’s John Ashworth has stepped down, in favour of Anneliese Dodds, the Labour candidate for Oxford East:

Good for him – but this doesn’t feel like something the parties themselves should have to fix.