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HIGNFY boss hits back at criticism over lack of women

Digital Spy (UK) logo Digital Spy (UK) 10/07/2018 Susannah Alexander

A number of Have I Got News For You viewers have previously complained about the dominance of male hosts, guests and writers on the BBC panel show.

But producer Jo Bunting has defended the lack of women appearing on the show, saying that "it's nothing to do with gender" but that the show simply seeks out the best writers.

"It's a very difficult thing to do," she told the Radio Times. "Our standards are high. We're not there to be a training school."

a group of people sitting in front of a television: Ian Hislop, Steph McGovern on Have I Got News For You, 4/6/2018 © BBC Ian Hislop, Steph McGovern on Have I Got News For You, 4/6/2018

Bunting agreed with comments previously made by team captain Ian Hislop that it is difficult to find female hosts but refuted his claim that women are "too modest" to take part in the show, saying that some are actually too "greedy" to come on as guests.

"People say, 'It's not difficult, I'll do it!' We've asked every female politician endless times (to be a guest)," she said.

Claiming that some of the women they have invited only want to host the show rather than be guests, she said: "Ego, isn't it? And the other thing is money, I suppose. You get paid a lot more. They're not stupid and they're quite greedy."

a group of people sitting in front of a store: Ian Hislop and Quentin Letts on Have I Got News For You © BBC Ian Hislop and Quentin Letts on Have I Got News For You

Proving that a woman can do a sterling job of hosting the show, Jo Brand previously used her appearance on the show to call out the male panellists on their attitudes to sexual harassment.

While the panellists debated the news that Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was stepping down from his post after being accused of sexually harassing Julia Hartley-Brewer, Quentin Letts said: "He's brave! Hartley-Brewer, big strong girl."

Brand was quick to reply: "She's not a girl. She's a woman Quentin, she's not a girl."

And when Hislop then joked that some of the allegations about MPs behaviour were "not high level crime", Brand was quick to speak the truth.

a man smiling for the camera: Jo Brand on Have I Got News For You © BBC Jo Brand on Have I Got News For You

"If I can just say, as the only representative of the female gender here today… I know it's not high level, but it doesn't have to be high level for women to feel under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons," she said.

"And actually, for women, if you're constantly being harassed, even in a small way, that builds up and it wears you down," she added, to huge applause.

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Have I Got News For You boss hits back at criticism of show's lack of female guests and writers, saying it's nothing to do with gender.: HIGNFY boss hits back at criticism over lack of women © BBC HIGNFY boss hits back at criticism over lack of women
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