Katherine Ryan Names 1 Area That Still Needs To Improve For Women On British TV

Katherine Ryan
Katherine Ryan Wiktor Szymanowicz via Getty Images

Katherine Ryan is opening up about the hurdles that women in the TV industry continue to face.

The Canadian-born, UK-based comedian, writer and presenter has spoken out on several occasions about sexism and inequality in her line of work, and has now identified one area she thinks is lagging the most.

Speaking onGrace Dent’s Comfort Eating podcast, Katherine said there’s a clear lack of women hosting late-night chat show in the UK.

“I thought that either myself or any of my female peers could have a late-night chat show in this country,” she said. “I think Sarah Millican had one for a little while, not any more.”

She added that she feels women are “sometimes relegated to daytime” while “the boys do all the late-night chat shows”.

Sarah Millican's talk show ran for three seasons between 2010 and 2013
Sarah Millican's talk show ran for three seasons between 2010 and 2013 Rune Hellestad - Corbis via Getty Images

“I love to see the format of, like, standing, topical, powerful, monologue, comedy monologue, and then sit down and chat,” she continued. “But that’s just because it’s what I grew up on, and I would love to see it with a really good outfit.”

The stand-up comic also agreed with the podcast host’s assessment that women are seen as “soft” by the industry.

“These expectations are what softness and femininity mean in an industry where you and I are very alpha, and I think I’ve always said it’s a misconception to think that stand-up is masculine – stand-up is just alpha, and some women are alpha,” Katherine said. “And so what does that mean? It sends people into a bit of a tailspin.”

While the most prominent late-night personalities in the US includeJimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, several women have hosted their own late-night shows, including Samantha Bee, Chelsea Handler and Amber Ruffin.

Here in the UK, meanwhile, the biggest chat shows – The Graham Norton Show or The Jonathan Ross Show – are both male-led.

Graham Norton presents the UK's biggest talk show
Graham Norton presents the UK's biggest talk show via Associated Press

Stars like Charlotte Church and Davina McCall briefly hosted their own UK chat shows in the mid-2000s, but the former only lasted two seasons, while the latter ran for just eight episodes.

The short-lived experiment The Nightly Show was also met with criticism in 2017, after only woman was recruited to guest host during its eight-week run.

Over in the US, female-led chat shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show performed well for many years, although these were both daytime formats.

Celebrity stars – including Drew Barrymore, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson – are now leading the way in these field rather than comedians or professional presenters.

Katherine herself has hosted shows like Roast Battle, All That Glitters and Ready To Mingle, as well as her own comedy specials, but has never been given the opportunity to take on a chat show format herself.