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In Focus

The Traitors have a woman problem and they are all the weaker for it

The Traitors have only ever enlisted men to their ranks – which Claudia Winkleman remarked was ‘just like the olden days’. It’s proof of a problem that exists in the boardroom as well as the belltower argues Flic Everett

Monday 22 January 2024 16:00 GMT
The full cast before many of the strong women were picked off by the men
The full cast before many of the strong women were picked off by the men (PA)

Two cloaked men wait in the bell tower for a new recruit to join their dark campaign of deception. At last, the mysterious figure appears and slowly lifts the garment’s hood to reveal… another man. On season two of BBC’s The Traitors, the men are in charge – and there’s no sign of that changing before the final showdown. As presenter Claudia Winkleman pointed out when she wryly remarked on their choice of another male recruit, “it’s just like the olden days”.

The hit show, a brilliantly conceived take on the game Murder in the Dark, divides participants into Faithfuls and a small handful of Traitors, who are initially chosen by Winkleman, then self-selecting if one is voted out. If they remain undetected by the others, they win the entire prize pot, up to £120,000. The stakes are high, the morals are low – and so far, nine episodes into twelve, it’s all about the men being top Traitor dog. Four of the five Faithful contestants who have been “murdered” – sent home – by the Traitors have been women. Meanwhile, the group of Traitors, who decide each murder, is entirely made up of men.

Original female traitor Ash was “banished”, when her fellow traitors, army engineer Harry and Machiavellian Mancunian business manager Paul, turned on her, and since, they’ve recruited muddled Miles then betrayed him, anxious Andrew (”it just doesn’t feel right… oh well, I suppose I’ll do it...”) and reluctant Ross. Meanwhile, the strongest and most opinionated women are ruthlessly picked off as the Traitors recognise danger and join forces to neutralise the biggest threats. The only woman left who doesn’t fit the “sweet” female Faithful mould is Jasmine, but it’s easy to predict that for her, the prize pot will soon be a distant memory.

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