Author Topic: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams  (Read 4271 times)

St_Eddie

  • *The Patron Saint of Scallywags*
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2019, 12:13:19 AM »
Have they banned all-female writing teams? Sexist cunts. The future of comedy.

The only fair thing to do is for them to ban any humans, whatever their gender, from being on a writing team.  Program an algorithm to write their scripts for them.  That would be true equality and would also likely result in slightly less shit comedy on ITV.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2019, 12:57:49 PM »
Perhaps writers could just add the words “and Connie Booth” to the opening credits?

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2019, 11:58:43 PM »
I don't see her campaigning for Gurkha only comedies, discusting.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2019, 11:04:10 PM »
Is there any comedy at all on ITV? I'm struggling to think of any.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2019, 11:22:41 PM »
Is there any comedy at all on ITV? I'm struggling to think of any.

ITV as a whole. What a fuckin' joke.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2019, 11:29:36 PM »
Imagine a group of male working class friends have been writing comedy together since childhood, finally get a foot in the door at ITV only to be told they have to jettison one to make way for public schooled, Oxford graduate Phoebe Waller-Richington III because obviously they're far more privileged than her and it's time she got a leg-up for once.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2019, 11:31:30 PM »
What if two are working class and two are upper middle class?

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2019, 11:32:01 PM »
Imagine a group of male working class friends have been writing comedy together since childhood, finally get a foot in the door at ITV only to be told they have to jettison one to make way for public schooled, Oxford graduate Phoebe Waller-Richington III because obviously they're far more privileged than her and it's time she got a leg-up for once.

I don't think I can bear to, it's too upsetting. Has it happened then?

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2019, 11:36:06 PM »
What if two are working class and two are upper middle class?

You can't have friends outside your class group

icehaven

  • I will be in the bar, with my head on the bar
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2019, 01:20:36 AM »
What if two are working class and two are upper middle class?

Then they will look up to them because oh I'm not bothering it's way too obvious.

McFlymo

  • Pre-"Post Reply" Anxiety
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2019, 01:31:38 AM »
some of them are written by one person.

Makes me think of 3rd party "contact centres", where employees answer calls for Apple, sell Apple products to customers and solve Apple customer problems, but aren't employed as, or have any of the rights / benefits of being actual Apple employees.

The same way teams of music producers just email 'round pop tracks until each boring detail is edited down into boring perfection for some pretty faced mobile phone company mascot to mime over.


Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #41 on: June 22, 2019, 09:49:55 AM »
Imagine a group of male working class friends have been writing comedy together since childhood, finally get a foot in the door at ITV only to be told they have to jettison one to make way for public schooled, Oxford graduate Phoebe Waller-Richington III because obviously they're far more privileged than her and it's time she got a leg-up for once.

Why would one have to be jettisoned just so that she could be added? They could have just the same team, but with her as an addition, no need for anyone to be removed.  It's not as if there's a strict numerical limit for what qualifies as a comedy writing team.

St_Eddie

  • *The Patron Saint of Scallywags*
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #42 on: June 22, 2019, 11:58:30 AM »
Why would one have to be jettisoned just so that she could be added? They could have just the same team, but with her as an addition, no need for anyone to be removed.  It's not as if there's a strict numerical limit for what qualifies as a comedy writing team.

Indeed.  However, it's still a ridiculous thought that were a writing team such as The League of Gentlemen to take their material to ITV, then they'd abbritarily have a woman, someone who isn't a part of the established team and doesn't possess their shorthand relationship, inserted into their writing sessions by the powers that be, purely due to a corporate mandate.  The League of Gender Neutrality.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #43 on: June 22, 2019, 11:59:55 AM »
Why would one have to be jettisoned just so that she could be added? They could have just the same team, but with her as an addition, no need for anyone to be removed.  It's not as if there's a strict numerical limit for what qualifies as a comedy writing team.

Maybe the budget only stretched to cover a certain amount of writers wages?

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #44 on: June 22, 2019, 02:09:16 PM »
Maybe the budget only stretched to cover a certain amount of writers wages?

Maybe, though that's rather conjectural, and as there isn't any mention of numbers of writers and budgts, that's arguably getting into a different issue.

Saying that, I agree with St_Eddie that it would be a very artificial and unrealistic way of doing things.  Probably better really to concentrate on ensuring that they're doing x amount of comedies that have women in their writing teams per year, as a means of addressing any shortage, rather than trying to micromanage every team that they work with.  While the course suggested above would still no doubt be open to arguments about quotas etc, it seems a more organic way of doing it to me ie trying to actively find already-existing writing teams that include, or solely comprise, women, rather than jamming disparate people together who may have little in common as writers.

As some have also mentioned, what does the word teams mean in this context anyway?  Does it even include duos?  Because if it doesn't, there probably aren't that many series that would be affected anyway, would there?  Most British comedies tend to only have one or two writers.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #45 on: June 22, 2019, 04:22:13 PM »
They could do worse than to commission the Smack the Pony reunion that Doon Mackichan, Sally Phillips and Fiona Allen have apparently been touting around uninterested broadcasters.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #46 on: June 22, 2019, 06:13:08 PM »
Isn't this less about writing partnerships and more about writers' rooms? I don't think it's about shoehorning someone in to a pre-existing team who work together, it's more about if there's a team working on something like a panel show or providing extra material for a sitcom and those rooms being all male. Writers rooms are apparently being used more and more in British comedy.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #47 on: June 22, 2019, 06:36:15 PM »
Isn't this less about writing partnerships and more about writers' rooms? I don't think it's about shoehorning someone in to a pre-existing team who work together, it's more about if there's a team working on something like a panel show or providing extra material for a sitcom and those rooms being all male. Writers rooms are apparently being used more and more in British comedy.

Yes, that's the sort of thing I was trying to get at.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #48 on: June 22, 2019, 07:27:46 PM »
Yeah, I didn't really realise how common they've become in Britain until Rule of Three, they mention being in writers' rooms quite often and so do several guests.

notjosh

  • Golden Member
  • *****
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2019, 07:57:07 PM »
Hasn't it always been the case in Britain that entertainment and sketch shows typically employ a team of writers? I'm pretty sure Barry Cryer has spent most of his career working in them.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #50 on: June 23, 2019, 11:39:05 PM »
Hasn't it always been the case in Britain that entertainment and sketch shows typically employ a team of writers? I'm pretty sure Barry Cryer has spent most of his career working in them.

No, Barry Cryer simply emerges from a catatonic state, upon the death of a comedian.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #51 on: June 24, 2019, 12:50:43 AM »
I saw Barry Cryer tonight at the ISIHAC recording.
He was non-catatonic for most of it.

Graeme was back too!

Autopsy Turvey

  • Albert The Grinder vs The Hooded Terror
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #52 on: June 24, 2019, 06:46:02 PM »
Isn't this less about writing partnerships and more about writers' rooms?

And does it mean that if the one or two token lass writers can't make it to a meeting, the head writer will have to get some of the catering/cleaning staff to sit in for them?

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #53 on: June 25, 2019, 09:30:08 PM »
Hasn't it always been the case in Britain that entertainment and sketch shows typically employ a team of writers? I'm pretty sure Barry Cryer has spent most of his career working in them.


Not always.

Even in sketch shows, you can find examples of one writer being responsible – pretty rare admittedly, but off the top of my head, there’s It’s That Man Again penned by Ted Kavanagh, Just Fancy by Eric Barker and Les Dawson series (plus, Ken Dodd) that James Casey wrote and produced – all very successful shows  for the BBC. Whilst the Eddie Braben-penned shows for Morecombe and Wise are considered to their best. Then there are shows where two writers were responsible – e.g. Take It From Here, The Burkiss Way, Beyond Our Ken. Benny Hill’s BBC period was written by him and Dave Freeman. Etc etc.

Also, traditionally, in the UK, where a show had various writers, it’s often best to think of it that terms of having multiple writers, rather than them working as a team. For example, with shows like The Two Ronnies or Alas Smith and Jones, writers (or pairs of writers) would work independently of each other. Plus, even when there’s a small group of writers working on the same project, it’s quite common for them to write in smaller groups - Monty Python an obvious example and a non-sketch one would be Motherland.

You mentioned Barry Cryer and he’s worked in a variety of set-ups. For instance, with the Thames Kenny Everett shows, it was basically him, Everett and Ray Cameron writing together. Sometimes he worked in a partnership (e.g. with Graham Chapman). When he’s talked about writing for someone like Tommy Cooper, where his series had several main writers, it sounds like people would fundamentally work on their own, rather than write as a team.

That’s very different to the American writers’ room, which the UK has moved more towards and has a different culture. As illustrated by The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, a joint UK/US production in the early 1970s. Like previous Feldman vehicles, it used a group of writers – but went about it in a very different way. Feldman wanted an American-style writers’ room where they all got together in the same physical location and err, well… write. However, this went down badly with British writers, who had worked with him before and were approached by Feldman to write for the show, as they preferred to write as they liked, when they liked etc. Going from memory, but although a number of people who had written with/for Feldman were approached, only Tim Brooke-Taylor took part and he said that enforced format didn’t really work. (I might have inferred incorrectly, but when he’s talked about this, my impression is he had reservations about the set-up but agreed because he liked and wanted to support Marty.)

I suspect this point has been made (and I’m subconsciously repeating it) but effectively, UK comedy writing was a cottage industry, whereas Feldman wanted a more factory-like approach. The usually mentioned issue was Feldman was trying to introduce a way of working, alien to most writers over here and they didn’t like the sound of. There may be other factors at play, but someone like John Cleese was happy writing material in the usual way around that time for other shows (e.g the Doctor series and for Ronnie Barker). Similarly, John Junkin was happy to act in the series but chose not to be part of the writing team.

I suspect that possibly it might be how Feldman was trying to implement a writer’s room was a contributory factor as well. In the States, how these operated varied – e.g. in radio comedy, Bob Hope’s way of operating was vastly different to Jack Benny; whilst more recently, the book Difficult Men (looking at shows like The Sopranos and Mad Men) illustrated that such differences are very much in evidence.

Getting back to the UK and now, as other said there’s been a move towards the American-style room… ironically, the US television industry has been moving away from it. One reason why I feel the UK has moved to it is because – this is generally, rather than comedy specifically – international co-production is becoming more important and utilising similar writer structures helps that.

However, every so often, writers will publicly extol the virtues of that set-up and argue the UK would benefit so arguably, there are genuinely creative reasons. Then again, My Family was publicised as having an American-style writers’ room…..

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #54 on: June 26, 2019, 06:27:50 AM »
And does it mean that if the one or two token lass writers can't make it to a meeting, the head writer will have to get some of the catering/cleaning staff to sit in for them?

Yes, that's exactly what it means

Autopsy Turvey

  • Albert The Grinder vs The Hooded Terror
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #55 on: June 26, 2019, 03:37:47 PM »
Yes, that's exactly what it means

Well good, let's hope it happens, they'll end up hearing some far more genuinely diverse perspectives.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #56 on: June 26, 2019, 03:40:59 PM »
For example, with shows like The Two Ronnies or Alas Smith and Jones, writers (or pairs of writers) would work independently of each other.
Kind of- Smith & Jones had writers' (normally half) days, to read existing material and generate new ideas, which we'd go away and write up individually or in pairs; never three though.  Then Griff would take everyone out for lunch and Mel- if he'd been there in the first place- would disappear to do his mysterious Mel things.

Clownbaby

  • Toe to tip, this is a Bart
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #57 on: June 26, 2019, 09:40:13 PM »
I understand why enforced diversity is done but it would always be in the back of my mind that my irrelevant gender was used as quite a big deciding factor in me getting the job. It's always a bit of a strange one to me cause yes,  the presence of women in comedy is thinner than men but it still has a lil vibe of a load of kids at school who've been forced to include the kid they were ignoring and the ignored kid is now part of the game but it didn't happen organically and there's a little bit of tension

Bottom line is I never have and never will  give a shit if there's no women behind a particular show I like but of course if there's a ton of very good female comedy writers out there who need and aren't getting proper exposure, and it is because of their gender that they're struggling to get established,then I obviously want to see them

notjosh

  • Golden Member
  • *****
Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #58 on: June 27, 2019, 08:19:58 AM »
I understand why enforced diversity is done but it would always be in the back of my mind that my irrelevant gender was used as quite a big deciding factor in me getting the job.

I don't think it's any worse than nepotism, which never seems to bother the people who benefit. Most jobs in TV go to people the hirer has worked with before and likes - it's usually not a rigorous, merit-based-only process.

By the way, the recently released Mindy Kaling film Late Night deals with just this subject, and in that film she ends up being the best comedy writer ever, so there you go.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #59 on: June 27, 2019, 08:37:25 AM »
The only fair thing to do is for them to ban any humans, whatever their gender, from being on a writing team.  Program an algorithm to write their scripts for them.  That would be true equality and would also likely result in slightly less shit comedy on ITV.

Judging by ITV's output they did that decades ago and it became self aware deciding to try and wipe out humanity by the only means at its disposal.