Controller gets serious about female comedy

The BBC has admitted its failure to support female comedians by giving them opportunities on television, in a further acknowledgment of the organisation's discrimination against women in broadcasting.

Announcing a raft of rising female talent who will be given on-air slots this year, the BBC's Controller of Entertainment Commissioning Mark Linsey accepted the corporation should have done more to promote comediennes. "We don't have enough female comedians on television – that's something we are aware of and trying to do something about," he told The Independent.

Although Linsey expressed excitement about an upcoming BBC2 show starring South Shields comedian Sarah Millican, and pointed to a batch of other women who the organisation was championing, he said "there's more work to be done". He accepted more progress should have been made in the years since Victoria Wood appeared to have made a breakthrough in gender equality by achieving television success in the 70s.

The comments come after the BBC Director General Mark Thompson's admission the BBC had a "case to answer" in the way it treats older women on the air. "We have too few women in key news and current affairs presenting roles," he said and added respondents told the BBC older women appeared "invisible" on the airwaves.

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