I was in the audience for Question Time last week, and I heartily recommend it as a good night out.
Before the filming began, we had a pep talk from Dimbleby himself in a Portcullis House conference room. During this, he asked us to be as belligerent and unreasonable as possible in our quizzing of the panel. I always assumed they just got angry, irrational people to come on, but, seems it’s a sanctioned bunfight. I suppose, if I’m honest, that’s partly why I watch it – for the bad behaviour and chaos – so it makes sense that they’d want to whip up the dogs of unreason into a fury and then unleash them on the viewing figures.
I wonder if he gave the same Pep talk to Peter Hitchens? Or if Hitchens just comes out of the box like that?
After the pep talk we had a warm up panel to test the sound and cameras. I played the part of Theresa May – well, sat in her seat and made what I thought were forbidding facial expressions, but when I saw the video my wife made of it, it turns out forbidding is not my strong suit. We had a debate about manners and why oh why they’re not what they were in the 50s (or words to that effect from most people). We were given extra points if we could work “national service” into our answers.
Then it was time for the real thing. Peter Hitchens skittered on, ushered by a young man who looked like a SPAD but perhaps was his PR minder? He needn’t have worried – Hitchens was certainly on nasty form.
I found myself warming to the rest of them though. Even Theresa – there’s something about seeing someone up close to humanise them, even if you disagree with everything they’re saying. And, actually, she did say the odd thing I agreed with. Can’t remember what, so I’ll have to rewatch. And you can too, here:
I asked a question about the Occupy protests – or rather, made a statement with a questioning intonation. I would’ve liked an answer – it’s a pity question time isn’t entirely questions from the audience, answers from the panel, as I’m not particularly interested in the views (my own included) of the general public when I’ve got a captive audience of politicians and whatnot to grill.
My wife asked about the over-reliance on the markets – and was rather frustrated also that she had to make it a statement rather than a question (on Dimbleby’s instruction). It’s called Question Time dammit! We want answers.
Oh, and Ed Balls and his flatline hand gesture/someone mocking him for it was fun.