Monday 24 October 2016

TV's true test of gender balance

Channel 4 this week broadcast a rare comedy drama, called No Offence (left). Rare because it passed the 'Bechdel test'. Named after Alison Bechdel, the cartoonist who created it in a comic strip, the test examines gender equality. There's three elements: a programme must have two or more female characters; they must talk to each other; and talk about something other than a man. No Offence is remarkable because its lead characters are women (Joanna Scanlon, inset, plays DI Vivienne Deering) who rarely discuss men. True, many of their conversations are about dead bodies, intrigue and murder, but it's that kind of show. Now wouldn't it be great if every new TV show had to pass the test?

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