ITV’s Discrimination Against Male Scriptwriters


From The BBC

ITV will no longer commission comedy shows with all-male writers’ rooms, the broadcaster’s head of comedy has said. Saskia Schuster said she realised last year that “an awful lot of my comedy entertainment shows are made up of all-male writing teams”.


She said: “Too often the writing room is not sensitively run. It can be aggressive and slightly bullying.”

Again: And?

She has now changed ITV’s contracts, and female writers have been hired to join shows like ITV2’s Celebability. There has been “a significant lack of shows written by women or with women on the writing teams”, she said.

For the last time: And?

David Mamet, whose works are somewhat more famous than Saskia Schuster, summed up the world of work in his script for the film of Glengarry Glen Ross:

Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you, go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here? Close.

We might like to work with nice people who are good fathers, but the number 1 priority is “closing”. Making the sale, Or if you’re a cab driver, getting them to the station. Or in comedy, writing good gags. That’s what matters. And to do that, we want the best talent for it. That’s why workplace discrimination on race, sex, sexuality, disability are bad things. No, it’s not because we’re kind. It’s because we want to get the best talent.

What I sense here, and explains why most ITV comedy is so woeful is the principal-agent problem. Instead of making a team that is about delivering the best comedy, she’s using her position to further her own objectives.

Editor here – The Vicar of Dibley, Blackadder, Steptoe and Son, Dad’s Army – all from all male writing teams…..