Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Elana H. Levine

Committee Members

Michael Z. Newman, Gilberto M. Blasini


British, Comedy, Gender, Panel Shows, Post-feminism, Television


This thesis discusses the gender disparity in British panel shows. In February 2014 the BBC’s Director of Television enforced a quota stating panel shows needed to include one woman per episode. This quota did not fully address the ways in which the gender imbalance was created. This thesis argues that the gender imbalance stems from post-feminist sensibilities and masculine-centric trends in British comedy and culture. This work demonstrates this through a discourse analysis of the opinions expressed about panel shows by the British popular press and media personalities from 2002 to 2017. The discourse analysis exposes patterns where British producers ignored the easily observed male dominance of panel shows. Arguments and opinions posed in these discourses demonstrate how British media personalities and the British public adopted post-feminist assumptions. Then, the panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats is analyzed to show how British comedy panel shows fit into post-alternative comedy styles and lad culture, which both favor heterosexual masculine identities. The comedy used in this show exposes how post-feminism, post-alternative comedy, and lad culture combine to create a masculine space. In order to fix the gender disparity, these contexts would need to change.