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Female writers responsible for just 14% of primetime TV dramas – report

Sarah Lancashire in BBC1 drama Happy Valley. Photo: BBC Sarah Lancashire in BBC1 drama Happy Valley, written by Sally Wainwright. Photo: BBC
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Just 14% of primetime TV dramas are written by women, a new report has found.

It also reveals that less than a third – 28% – of all UK television episodes are penned by women.

These are the findings of a new report from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, called Gender Inequality and Screenwriters.

The statistic that so few primetime dramas are predominantly written by women comes despite some of the biggest recent TV hits being penned by female writers, including Happy Valley, by Sally Wainwright, and Call the Midwife, created by Heidi Thomas.

There is also low representation of women writers in comedy (11%) and light entertainment (9%).

Alongside the report, new campaign Equality Writes has been launched, supported by Kay Mellor and Sandi Toksvig.

Mellor said it was “criminal” that the number of women signature writers could be counted on one hand.

“Sometimes it takes a collective to say, ‘This is not fair’, and it’s not. It’s time things changed,” she added.

WGGB president Olivia Hetreed said: “Faced with such clear evidence, we expect that commissioners, especially public funders, will work much harder to give equal opportunities to women and other under-represented writers, who in turn will produce work reflecting all our hopes, fears and aspirations.”

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