Tyneside audience makes its voice heard on Any Questions
My instructions were to warm up the Any Questions audience ready for the live broadcast from Newcastle's Assembly Rooms.
The Radio 4 team send in a local BBC 'turn' to chat with the audience and break the ice before the real programme begins. This was my first time and as my previous blog reveals I was a little nervy. As it turns out I needn't have worried. The 300 strong crowd were already up for some lively debate.
Above all there should be no inhibition from those on the floor in expressing their disdain or agreement with what the panel have to say.
I shamelessly went for the easy option when asking the crowd to practice rapturous applause.
"Let's hear your reaction to the following statement. We have a much better quality of life up North."Cue a pretty raucous round of clapping and cheers. A provocative: "is the Angel of the North a waste of money" got a few hisses, but also a ripple of applause.
I think the audience were ready for the live debate even before I did my turn because when Tory blogger Iain Dale was introduced there was a chorus of booing. He hadn't even said a word or taken his place on the panel. He has already posted a blog about his experience of appearing on stage in a Labour heartland.
As the panel answered the questions, which they really don't get to see beforehand, the Newcastle audience certainly played their part. You can hear for yourself on the BBC iPlayer.