In Depth

Sandi Toksvig: women are being ‘edited out and marginalised’ of panel shows

QI host says women perform cleverly but are then seen ‘just laughing at the boys’

Sandi Toksvig, host of BBC’s QI has said that women are edited out of television panel shows, and regularly face poor treatment by being “marginalised”.

Toksvig, who also presents The Great British Bake Off, told the Radio Times: “There are panel shows that struggle to get women on, and that’s because the women feel marginalised and stupid and in the edit are often seen just laughing at the boys and not saying anything at all even though I know for a fact in the recording they were clever.”

“I’m not shy at speaking up but even I, on those shows, am silenced. And I sit there and think, ‘I could have been at home eating Chinese. What am I doing sitting here?’ And that’s a shame.”

Her appointment on QI “made her the first woman host on a mainstream comedy panel show on British TV”, says HuffPost, however Toksvig recently revealed that her salary is just 40% of that paid to Stephen Fry.

She told the Women’s Equality Party Conference in Kettering last weekend: “Until now I had held back from talking about this because this is not about me. However, the lack of transparency around pay is a big part of the problem and I hope that, being open, I can support women whose work is undervalued.”

She said her salary was equal to that of regular panellist Alan Davies. But she added: “So I temper this with the fact that I love the show and [am] the first woman to host such a show.”

Toksvig added she hopes QI is “a comfortable place for women”, and that she encourages its woman panellists to be smart and funny.

However, Sandi has previously said that she gets paid the same as Noel Fielding for her role on Bake Off.

“Noel and I have complete parity,” she said. “We're open and transparent about everything, which is the best way to avoid problems.”

“This issue should have been dealt with long ago. I very much hope everyone will clean up their act. Sadly, I doubt it.”

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