A producer from the Alan Titchmarsh Show has found himself knee deep in a sexist mire after turning down a female debater from The Union and requesting a “male” and preferably “British” one in her place.

Union President Joanna Mobed was contacted last week by a producer of the Alan Titchmarsh show, asking her to take part in a debating segment called the ‘Daily Ding Dong’.

In emails leaked to The Tab, producer Simon Gummer said he’d “really like one of them to be between two ‘professional’ debaters”, putting the Cambridge and the Oxford presidents head-to-head.

After replying that she was interested, Joanna received the following response from Simon:

‘This afternoon I thought I had finally got everything sorted and would be able to come back to you with the debate motion and all the details however my executive producer has decided she wants the debate to be a specific way so all my plans have got [sic] out of the window.

“She would like two men to debate the motion ‘this house would reinstate national service’ so would it be possible for you to find me a guy who would be willing to take part? It would also be best if he was British.

“If you could let me know as soon as you can if this would be ok and the details of who you would like to put forward.”

sme_at_0351 (1)

Debating heavyweights Sinitta and Samantha Brick go head-to-head on the Daily Ding Dong

Speaking to The Tab, Joanna said “Initially, the representative from ITV was very cooperative. However, I was disappointed by the decision to take the programme in this direction. Being a woman should not disqualify me from speaking on that motion.

“I was also a bit surprised by the request for a British speaker. When debating, what matters is a person’s ability to think through and understand the issues involved.

“Gender and nationality should not be a consideration in this matter”.

alan-titchmarsh-stainless-steel-digging-spade_3381_300

Dig yourself out of that, Alan

Producers sent three further emails and called the Union offices, which decided not to respond.

The Tab contacted producer Simon to ask him why he told Joanna to ‘find a guy’ for the show instead of her but he declined to comment.

An ITV spokesperson later said: “As a TV programme we cast contributors in accordance with the subject matter. For this particular item we wanted to debate the motion of reinstating National Service for men and so we were looking to cast two men who would explore both sides of the argument.”

The call for this debate comes as a bill to reinstate compulsory national service for 18-to-26-year-olds – male and female – is to be debated in Parliament early next year.

The last time National Service was instated during World War Two, both women and men were called up.

Competitive debaters are expected to argue over a range of topics, most of which aren’t directly relevant to them.

Sadly this isn’t the first time the Cambridge Union has confronted sexist behaviour.

Earlier this year, Glasgow University male debaters yelled sexist heckles at Cambridge student Rebecca Meredith and her debating partner Marlena Valles from Edinburgh uni, shrieking ‘shame woman’ and ‘get that woman out of my chamber’.

Last year Ms Meredith was ranked the 13th best debater in the world.

The horrible conduct of the Glasgow debaters prompted a national outcry but no disciplinary action from the Glasgow uni authorities, who ruled that there was ‘no case to answer’.

  • The question here is

    what was she doing out of the kitchen.

    • Rate my Troll

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  • Not Everything

    is sexist…

    • Well, obviously…

      …but this is.

      • Obviously not

        The debate relates to a topic which is most relevant to young British males…

        • You should

          stop arguing about misogyny then, as that topic is most relevant to women and you clearly are not one.

          • well that’s wrong, because isn’t

            misogyny something that is predominantly done by men?

        • Umm…

          Did you read the bit which made it clear that inscription would apply and last time did apply to both men and women?

    • You’re not wrong

      but inviting someone to debate, receiving their positive reply and then telling them that they can’t because they’re a woman most definitely is.

      • Your missing the point

        It was probably worth it to see the look on her face. :) -> :(

        • You’re missing the apostrophe

          Must be from Homerton.

          • I heard

            The Tab’s best pedant is from Homerton.

      • But it’s tv

        Tv producers just want whatever aesthetic or mood will get them the most ratings and the most people wanting to watch their show.

        They do not give a shit about postmodern identity politics.

        Their criteria are capitalist. Asexual.

        • yeah

          that’s why a lot of TV sucks

  • If

    they had specifically wanted two women (as they likely did in the episode pictured) would this be news?

    • DATS SECKSIST

      We don’t talk about that kind of thing, women are very oppressed okay

  • lol

    someone’s into young boys. that smile though…

  • Sinitta

    These are my fingers

    • That’s actually

      Samantha you racist bastard.

  • Alan Titchmarsh

    Don’t worry love, I’ll get to the root of the problem

  • These comments

    are shameful.

  • But

    It makes a lot more sense for a British male to debate an issue relating to national service. Don’t see the big deal. The topic in questions relates better to a British male than it would a non-British female. There wouldn’t be an uproar if they wanted two British women for a notably British feminine issue.

    • Read the article (again)

      ‘The call for this debate comes as a bill to reinstate compulsory national service for 18-to-26-year-olds – male and female – is to be debated in Parliament early next year.’

      • Reread the article (again)

        An ITV spokesperson later said: “As a TV programme we cast contributors in accordance with the subject matter. For this particular item we wanted to debate the motion of reinstating National Service for men and so we were looking to cast two men who would explore both sides of the argument.”

        So ITV weren’t debating the actual motion, but a simplified version of it. Why this is I’m not sure, but I doubt it’s down to sexism particularly. Doesn’t really make sense as an explanation in this case….

  • I don’t understand

    What the problem is with them wanting two British males. Anyone?

  • Craig David

    Craaaiiiggg David

  • Anonymous

    Sure it was disturbing but I didn’t understand this bit:

    “Producers sent three further emails and called the Union offices, which decided not to respond.”

    Why didn’t the Union want to respond? And what did the emails say?

    Saying that I am pretty sure they were being xenophobic /sexist.

    But then again female foreigners may not help with the ratings, for all we know.

  • Reading between the lines

    This afternoon I thought I had finally got everything sorted and would be able to come back to you with the debate motion and all the details however my executive producer has decided she wants the debate to be a specific way so all my plans have got [sic] out of the window.

    i.e. this decision was made by a woman. Obviously not saying a woman can’t be sexist/do things which undermine feminism etc but I think the fact that all the anger is directed towards Simon is unfair and misdirected. A woman has decided she wants two British males for a motion which is about British males.
    This is one of feminism’s biggest flaws in its current form for me. Because everything goes back to patriarchy/everything is sexist, this completely undermines their arguments when there is a valid point…

  • Pingback: GBNews24.com::English » World Exclusive: ITV rejected me for live national service debate because I’m a girl, says Cambridge Union president

  • why

    is it the man who’s being accused of sexism?

    “my executive producer has decided SHE wants the debate to be a specific way”

    ie the decision to use men was taken by a woman, conveniently missed out in this article to get more points against men, this is why feminists get such a bad rep

    • voice of reason

      because sexism is not defined in terms of the person practising the discrimination

      • but

        in this article it specifically is, talking about how the guy who wrote the email “landed HIMSELF in a sexist mire” despite the fact that all he was doing was passing on a decision taken by a woman. For a voice of reason you’re a bit of a fucking idiot aren’t you?

  • Greg Hill

    Women are more than welcome in the Homerton Gym, which i built. With my bare hands. I can also dead-lift 50. If you want to put that in your article you’re more than welcome to.

  • TPJ

    Females are more than welcome to support me when training for the U21s

    • TPJ Fan

      long time no see

  • The funniest bit

    is that the current European debating champions- both at Cambridge, are, I believe, not British:
    http://cambridge.tab.co.uk/2013/08/26/cambridge-wins-mass-debating-competition/

    • evidence?

      I think you mean ‘not white’ which is a very different thing

      • funniest bit

        I understand both are international students- even if it isn’t mentioned in the article.

  • Rett Babram

    Feminists, amirite?!

  • voice of reason

    I would like to thank the Tab for bringing this issue to our attention. Ms Mobed has every right to be indignant, and I am not surprised that she has declined to assist the producer in sourcing a male debater.