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The Risk of an All-Female Line Up

06/04/2014 15:35 BST | Updated 04/06/2014 10:59 BST

The news that long-standing Strictly Come Dancing presenter and showbiz legend Bruce Forsyth is to step down from regular hosting duties was met with mixed emotions this week. While it's important to honour an incredible contribution, it is no doubt a relief to viewers, floor managers and TV execs a-like. I like Bruce, don't get me wrong. He embodies a golden age of entertainment - an authentic talent and an all round showman. Rarely can a jack-of-all-trades be considered a master of most of them too, but the only thing more uncomfortable than his catastrophic comic timing was the genuine concern that he may not live to the end of the joke.

After a short period of Bruce fanfare and a very well prepared look-back at his finest moments, attention will turn to his successor. The male dominated world of online betting instantly put Anton Du Beke as favourite, with Graham Norton and John Barrowman in close second and third. Although betting against Graham Norton to front a BBC series is rarely a smart idea, the solution to the BBC's problem isn't Irish. In fact, they don't really have a problem at all... and I think they know it.

As Forsyth has found the demands of live TV increasingly difficult, he was forced to scale back his weekly commitments and take regular mid-series breaks, allowing time for the show to find a natural replacement. Tess Daly moved into the main man's shoes and Claudia Winkleman provided the support - not only did it fill the gap, it improved the show beyond recognition, often beating ITV rival X Factor. Strictly has always teetered on the edge of being unbearably twee and pretentious and no matter how much of an iconic figure he is, Bruce Forsyth only ever served to perpetuate that. Daly and Winkleman provided a new lease of life - maintaining the show's sophistication but opening the door to a whole new generation of fans. The younger audiences (predominantly young girls) are actively making the switch from X Factor to Strictly and it is in no small part down to the absence of a male lead. All those in the bookie's frame would take the show back to its predictable, dated format - the dominant male with his glamorous assistant.

But with this simple, progressive solution comes a hidden risk. The past few years have seen incredible progression for females in the media, with campaigns against the sexualisation of women proving hugely successful and spearheading the demise of the lad-mag culture. Powerhouses like Radio 1 and Radio 4 are significantly increasing the number of women broadcasters and strong female figures like Caitlin Moran and Lauren Laverne have challenged the victimisation of women on social media. International Women's Day has become one of the most significant dates on the political calendar and millions have been empowered to stand up in the face of sexism in all walks of life. But there's a risk. A risk of us becoming so consumed by the fight that we lose sight of the end game - which is genuine equality. We don't want to have to debate the merits of, say, equal pay, but simply accept that it's a given. In any such situation, it's all too easy to become known not for our talents and abilities, but for our attempts to prove them.

The BBC's head of entertainment Danny Cohen insisted that he will put an end to all-male comedy panel shows, but I'm not entirely convinced its for the right reasons. Will the booking of more female panelists be seen as an honest recognition of the person's ability or simply an attempt to appease a growing movement? I can't see it doing any harm and I know Cohen's heart and head are in the right place, but this isn't the long-term solution.

And that's why the BBC bosses need to play their cards right with Bruce's replacement, if you'll excuse the pun.

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman need to be ushered in quietly with no sweeping statements on the 'changing face of British TV'. No sound bites from TV executives and no analysis on the absence of a male host - and please God don't start describing this as any sort of win for the feminist movement. We need to accept that this is normal. Why shouldn't two women host a prime time Saturday night TV show? If this starts to feel like a box ticking exercise from a BBC under pressure, it will only serve to undermine the argument.