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Warming up the audience for a heated debate

Chris Jackson | 14:35 UK time, Friday, 15 April 2011

Any Questions at Newcastle Assembly Rooms
I must have been alright on the night when I was kindly asked if I'd be the warm up man for Radio 4's Any Questions programme last Summer.

I've been asked back - and so, as I write, I am about to dust down my suit and polish my shoes before heading off to County Durham.

The National Railway Museum's Locomotion site at Shildon is the venue for this evening's lively topical radio discussion programme which airs at 20:00 BST on Friday 15 March 2011.

The panel is made up of:

I'm guessing it's odds on there'll be questions about the NHS, AV voting, Libya, Tuition fees. Incidentally that's a subject being tackled by Richard Moss on Sunday's Politics Show.

The panellists do not get to see the questions the audience have put forward until they're asked on air.

It's live, and about half an hour before the red light comes on and Jonathan Dimbleby welcomes the nation to the show, I will be putting the audience through its paces. Unless those gathered to hear the panel's answers cheer, laugh, snort, tutt or hiss how will those tuned in at home know what the audience makes of those responses?

Needless to say it won't be a comedy routine, but as temporary ringmaster I will be asking a couple of sure fire questions to get everyone in the mood. Well they worked last time so fingers crossed.

Bette Davis
You know you'll get a loud cheer when you ask "Do you think we have a better quality of life in the North compared to the South"? There's nothing like knowing your home crowd.

It will probably be as near unanimous as a Royal College of Nursing vote of no confidence in the Health Secretary.

As Bette Davis once notably remarked in the movies:

"Fasten your seatbelts... it's going to be a bumpy night!"

If I've done my job half right, you might hear the airbags go off as well!


  • Comment number 1.

    Wonder what might be the real feeling in you people, Chris ! Having to answer the public live without knowing what is coming up and that too on sensitive matters like the NHS and matters regarding Libya.

    A lot of things have to be ensured while on air. Keeping the mood of the crowd going is the biggest challenge. Your words have to be under control all the time. One has to be patient enough to handle extreme emotions from the crowd.

    May you have the Almighty's blessings to handle this pressure in the days to come.


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