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Question Time returns

James Stephenson | 13:46 UK time, Thursday, 20 September 2007

Question Time is back tonight after its summer break - some compensation we hope for the sudden autumn chill and the nights drawing in!

Question Time logoInteractivity and so-called user generated content - that's you giving us what goes in the show - are the buzz words of the moment. And you can't be much more user-generated than the classic Question Time formula of inviting 150 members of the public to tell it like it is to senior politicians and other public figures.

This week's line-up includes Christiane Amanpour - probably the most famous woman in TV news - who's just appeared on a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. I'm sure Paddy Ashdown will be ready to face the third degree about Sir Ming's leadership of the Lib Dems if that's what people want to talk about. You can tell us what you'd like discussed by clicking here.

If QT is a classic formula, there's still always room for improvement. This spring, Mentorn beat off fierce competition from other independent companies to continue making the show and they're introducing new elements to freshen things up. There's a new set and titles - bringing the show closer to the style of BBC One and BBC News. Let us know what you think. Question Time now has its own audience seating, making it possible to go to a much wider range of locations across the country.

There are also two additional shows - Question Time Extra will run straight after Question Time on BBC News 24, giving everyone at home a chance to have a say about this week's debate. And you can see an edited highlights version of the main show, again on News 24 at 20:30 on Saturday evening.


  • 1.
  • At 02:38 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

I used to love Question Time, unfortunately these days it does little more than make me want to throw the tv through the window. It's little more than a collection of mainstream politicians, half-baked celebs and weak columnists who rant away in the usual predictable fashion.

There needs to be a true diversity of opinion, a diversity that will make viewers think rather than just accepting the prevailing mainstream views.

  • 2.
  • At 03:02 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

I despair, I really do - while you are splashing huge amounts of cash on what Mr Paxman saliently called the 'obsession with interactivity', I read in today's paper that the BBC are now looking to cut 20% from the budget of Newsnight.

Truly abysmal priorities - I weep for the future if this kind of decision making, pushed by 'User Generated Content' is what we have in store.

  • 3.
  • At 04:25 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Craig wrote:

Wehey!!! I'm glad this is back. My mates and I love getting drunk and braying at the telly when this is on, it's amazing what we come up with. Often, it seems more sensible than what the panelists say, but then we would think that wouldn't we :P

  • 4.
  • At 04:32 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I stopped watching Question Time a long time ago. I got sick of the predominantly Left wing panels, the 'rigged' audiences, the BBC agenda, the constant lies (e.g. 'we armed Saddam'), the repetition (Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, Iraq) and the smug cosiness of our Metropolitan Elite's consensus.

Total waste of the Telly Tax in its current form. Scrap it and extend This Week instead.

  • 5.
  • At 06:42 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

I heartily endorse Rob's views. The programme seems incredibly tired, with its inevitable quota of dull liberal ladies,- what is Shirley Williams for?- leftists, and the odd token right-winger. The audiences will clap anything if it is said with enough faux vehemence. All presided over by a dynast we see far too much of on TV already.

  • 6.
  • At 06:43 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • David M wrote:

Hmmm. I have missed QT, and of course TW! The Punch and Judy of late night politics returns!

Which is which, he'll let us decide.

  • 7.
  • At 06:44 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Heather wrote:

Christine who? Never heard of her.


  • 8.
  • At 07:01 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Stu wrote:

What a load of rubbish written by Rob above. The whole point of question time is that its not based in London. And you are obviously not all for balance as you prefer This Week with the right wing Andrew Neil. And anyway - I'm not left wing but you must be an idiot if you think we didn't arm Saddam.

Come back down to us here on Earth, Rob and you'll notice that the average Question Time panel tends to consist of a solitary voice from the left and even this is a rare occurance. Most of the time we get any one of a number of indistinguishable New Labour MPs, all of whom trot out the same lines on Iraq, on tuition fees, on low taxation, on nuclear weapons and on any number of other issues that could easily emerge out of the mouth of a Conservative.

The problem with dealing with comments like yours Rob, is that you're not particularly interested in the truth but instead prefer to trot out the same tired accusations of bias and instead you conveniently ignore that your side of the political spectrum, the side owned by rich men with agendas to push, gets its own way so much of the time.

Will we get video podcasts?

  • 11.
  • At 09:13 AM on 21 Sep 2007,
  • David G wrote:

Question Time? I haven't watched it since 9/11 after the way the US ambassador was shamefully treated by your audience, panel and chair.

Your 'carefully selected' audience may be representative of BBC opinion (with a few token centrists thrown in) but is not representative of the country.

  • 12.
  • At 12:57 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • Neil Sterrett wrote:

I watched Question Time last Thursday and found it to be as bad as before ie the same old faces on the panel with the same boring rhetoric coming from the politicians - time to kill this waste of
a license fee.
As for the carry forward to NewsNight - what a complete waste of time given that we had a couple of second league politicians simply endorsing what their more senior colleagues had said on Question Time - a complete "switch off"
If this and the standard of many other BBC programmes is all that we can expect then the license fee must be abolished forthwith.

I am glad Question Time is back because I love a good debate and where I live there isn't much.
I think they should allow more cross audience participation with each other becuase it is only an hour and We all kind of know what the panel will say to each question.
Unless we attached lie detector lightbulbs to them. Now that would be fun.

  • 14.
  • At 04:51 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Zoe wrote:

A poetical tribute to the current debate surrounding a general election.

There was a prime minister called Tony Blair,
Who had a fruitless decade of rule lets be fair,
Yet at least he was democratically elected,
Something his predecessor Brown has neglected,
Jeopardise a decade of conspiracy he wouldn’t dare!

  • 15.
  • At 12:35 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

We didn't "arm" Saddam. The leftie loser spout this out time and time again on Questiontime.

Saddam got his weapons from Russia (Mig Fighters from Russian T55 & T72 tanks for example)and from China (such as the Silkworm missile. The good old Scud missile is of course a "Russian" design, not American as some idiot once spouted on Question Time (a spotty Politics student if I remember)

Of course the good old French sold him plenty of weapons during the sanctions.

Ask anyone that has been out in Iraq and ask them what Countries weapons are fired at them.

Not that the Guardian reading losers that fill the QT audience care for the truth.

  • 16.
  • At 10:57 AM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • Stewart wrote:

The questions are all filtered and center on news items that happen to be current. This simply allows the government to use Question Time as a mouth piece and continue to forward the BBC's leftist gate keeper agenda. All the panelists are hand picked as are the questions, giving absolute control over proceedings to the BBC and by extension the government. What possible credibility could you hope to have?

  • 17.
  • At 03:30 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

To me, the shortcoming of Question Time, and indeed just about all TV political coverage, is that it is built around the presumption that mainstream, orthodox topicality must already include, without question, everything about which there can be purposeful discussion. That anything outside this "box" of approved ideas is quite correctly considered to be no more than fodder for the inquisitive minds of academia. And that academics, intellectuals and other loose cannons can be considered to be peripheral to society; with an inadequacy that comes from having not mastered the discipline of focusing their minds on what really matters.

This is, in a nutshell, the popular perception of the world, which the BBC, it seems to me, does nothing to question. On the contrary, the impression I get from all the mainstream media is that the general population is being actively encouraged to think only within the mental confines of the box, and to vilify and ridicule those who don't.

Maybe this is the most appropriate way for society to develop. Maybe it is better for the thinking of the masses to be corralled so that it cannot destabilise the authority of the elite. Perhaps the most important thing is not actually what the elite does, but that it is allowed to do it uninterrupted. I don't know. I'd like to discuss it. But you, it seems, wouldn't.

I am saddened by the downfall of a once great programme.
It would be improved by letting the audience ask any question they fancied,instead of the questions picked to suit.
There is no decent debate in this era anymore,it is all follow the 'government line'
Having watched the airbrushing of recent History during the Labour party conference,I can only conclude that they are adopting the Basil Fawlty approach of don't mention the war.Did Question Time take them to task,No!
It has become mealy mouthed and subservient and I for one will not be watching it again!

  • 19.
  • At 10:48 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • p.z.temperton wrote:

I'm sick of all this audience participation rubbish. I don't want to hear what ill-informed members of the public have to say. QT was best with Robin Day.

  • 20.
  • At 12:42 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Nick Harman wrote:

Yet again a Question Time 'red faces' the BBC.
I'm talking about last nights episode and the BBC decision to let Kelvin MacKenzie return on to the panel.
MacKenzie spoke in bigotted and racist terms about our Scottish neighbours north of the border.
How long will the BBC persist in hiring this low life ?

  • 21.
  • At 02:27 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Harris wrote:

There should be a quality control system to prevent ill-informed, bigoted, offensive and unhelpful people like Kelvin MacKenzie being invited to be on Question Time. Or if he absolutely must be allowed to appear then can somebody please give him a briefing over how taxation works and what its purpose is?

  • 22.
  • At 11:58 PM on 13 Oct 2007,
  • M Miller wrote:

Well said, Simon Stephenson, above.
Nobody at the BBC will take any notice though.

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