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Meera Syal has become the latest star to voice concern over the BBC ban on all-male comedy panel shows.

BBC director of television Danny Cohen has pledged that the corporation is ‘not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them’, branding the exclusion ‘not acceptable’.

Asked about having quotas for women on panel shows, the Goodness Gracious Me star told Radio Times magazine: “It’s true panel shows are competitive and male-dominated.

“But a quota system suggests we’re giving a chance to people who aren’t very good, when that’s not the case – there are loads of funny women out there.

“Quotas should be a last resort. I think a little imagination and a willingness to cast the net wider would put the imbalance right.”

Her comments come after historian Mary Beard, presenter Sandi Toksvig and Mock The Week host Dara O’Briain voiced their concern over the issue .

The Kumars at No 42 star said she would like to see more middle-aged female characters in sitcoms.

“I’d like more family comedy and more comedy with women of a certain age, please. When you get to this age – not quite menopausal, but no spring chicken – you’ve got a lot of things to laugh about.

“We don’t see women of that age featured in comedies; they always tend to be the minor characters.”

 

Press Association