Comedian and actor Doon Mackichan says using rape scenes as entertainment on TV shows is ‘one of the most heinous things’ with crime porn an endemic on the small screen. 

The co-creator of the award-winning Smack The Pony said she had lost jobs because of her ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards violence against women. 

The 61-year-old mother-of-three told the Hay Festival she had turned down a role on Silent Witness after being asked ‘are you happy with nakedness on the [mortuary] slab?’.

She said that she told the show’s producers: ‘I am not going to be on the slab, I am not going to do your show.’

Mackichan recounted how two young female actresses confided in her about their rape scene experiences in which one was told to shout stop if she was uncomfortable, but she ‘lost her voice’ when four men pinned her down. 

Smack The Pony co-creator Doon Mackichan, 61, says using rape scenes as entertainment on TV shows is ‘one of the most heinous things’

Mackichan turned down a role on Silent Witness after being asked 'are you happy with nakedness on the [mortuary] slab?' (Pictured: Emilia Fox starring in BBC's Silent Witness)

Mackichan turned down a role on Silent Witness after being asked ‘are you happy with nakedness on the [mortuary] slab?’ (Pictured: Emilia Fox starring in BBC’s Silent Witness)

On another occasion, one young actor had to endure two days of simulated rape for a TV drama only for the scene to be cut from the show. 

‘I was all in favour of them never having that rape scene,’ she said, ‘but the fact she had to go through that, and then the director decided he would cut it as if he was the big hero. 

‘This kind of thing has to stop. And unfortunately, you look at Netflix, and the amount of sexual violence they have on a lot of shows… we still have a long journey.’ 

The Toast of London star wrote an article in The New Statesman in 2014 titled ‘Enough is Enough’ warning ‘violent, on screen images of women fuel violence against women in society’. 

In that article she bemoaned that ‘crime porn’ – in shows such as Luther, Mayday, Ripper Street, The Fall, and Silent Witness – was dominating our screens. 

Mackichan told the Hay Festival: ‘We are slightly obsessed with crime porn and I do think that what we are watching affects our culture. 

‘It is profoundly deflating for women. We are watching stuff that makes us debilitated and exhausted, it just doesn’t help us overcome this. We are wading in very, very ugly waters of misogyny and violence against women.’

Luther star Idris Elba previously admitted how the crime drama was rightly criticised in its early years for predominantly portraying violence against female characters. 

Luther star Idris Elba (pictured) previously admitted how the crime drama was rightly criticised for predominantly portraying violence against female characters

Luther star Idris Elba (pictured) previously admitted how the crime drama was rightly criticised for predominantly portraying violence against female characters

An episode in series one of the BBC's Luther sees a woman gagged and caged by a serial killer

An episode in series one of the BBC’s Luther sees a woman gagged and caged by a serial killer

Elba told Digital Spy in 2018 that he had voiced his concerns about women being targeted in his popular BBC series

Elba told Digital Spy in 2018 that he had voiced his concerns about women being targeted in his popular BBC series

Mackichan says 'crime porn' - in shows such as Luther, Mayday, Ripper Street, The Fall, and Silent Witness - was dominating our screens (Pictured: Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan starring in Netflix's The Fall)

Mackichan says ‘crime porn’ – in shows such as Luther, Mayday, Ripper Street, The Fall, and Silent Witness – was dominating our screens (Pictured: Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan starring in Netflix’s The Fall)

Many of the chapters of Mackinchan's memoir My Lady Parts contain accounts of casual sexism

Many of the chapters of Mackinchan’s memoir My Lady Parts contain accounts of casual sexism

Mackichan (pictured starring in Two Doors Down Christmas Special in 2021) said she had lost jobs because of her 'zero tolerance' policy towards violence against women

Mackichan (pictured starring in Two Doors Down Christmas Special in 2021) said she had lost jobs because of her ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards violence against women

He told Digital Spy in 2018 that he had voiced his concerns about women being targeted in his popular BBC series.

‘It was very much of my voicing, but very much Neil [Cross, the writer]’s voicing as well, not to mention the BBC, wanting to even that out,’ he said. 

Mackichan spoke to The Daily Mail last year about her memoir My Lady Parts. 

She described the short book as ‘a selection of stories, front and backstage, of a life so far spanning forty years in the business, with many of the chapters containing accounts of casual sexism.

An awful experience at school in Surrey when she was eight seems to still haunt her. She was summoned to a circle of boys in the playground and told to lift up her skirt and pull her pants down.

She complied but felt a sense of burning humiliation. Her mother complained to the school and the boys were made to apologise but Mackichan was the one tainted by the incident, thereafter never invited to play with her peers. ‘So many women have experienced so much worse than this,’ she writes. ‘It just steals a little bit of the light in your soul.’

In her 2014 article for The New Statesman, Mackichan told of her regret of being involved in ITV drama Wire in the Blood with Robson Green. 

In it, she played a lesbian who was in a relationship with the late Lou Gish and said she felt like a ‘killjoy’ for refusing to ‘drop the towel’ in the sauna at the end of shot, or ‘brush her breast’ with my hand. 

‘Far worse was the time Lou, who in the story was brutally murdered (of course), was sitting in make-up with only a towel around her waist as they applied cuts, bruises and blood all over her,’ she wrote. 

‘I remember her feeling terrible – me holding her hand, and both of us shedding a tear.’

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