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Final preparations

James Stephenson | 19:58 UK time, Thursday, 21 September 2006

I've been suffering from flashbacks over the last couple of weeks. In the early nineties I produced Question Time and now I find myself back in the scanner - this time watching over the final preparations for the new series.

Question Time logoThe show is made for the BBC by independent producer Mentorn. It's a strange feeling being here as the questions come in from the audience, and not being involved in picking which ones will get asked. That's the job of Ed Havard (the programme editor) with David Dimbleby and the team. I'm here for them to talk to if they run into any problems - oh, and to get picked on without warning by David to ask a question during the late afternoon rehearsal.

Question Time has given the public a chance to grapple with the politicians since it started in 1979. Now we're going to give people the chance to suggest questions in advance via the website.

We're also launching a Question Time vodcast. It's a 20 minute version of the show available for video download via the website. But the real test of the show is whether the audience in the studio gets stuck into the debate and the panellists - Charles Kennedy, Ann Widdecombe, Harriet Harman, Tariq Ali and Sir Christopher Meyer. I'm sure they will.


The old series of Question Time was excellent by all standards.The new series will undoubtedly be a fantastic opportunity for the public to learn the art of questioning politicians and getting straight answers. The sharper the questions the more difficult for politicians to attempt to waffle and lie to the teeth. Straight questions should get straight answers: but by shifting uncomfortably in their seats, politicians without clear policies or facts would send the wrong signals to the electorate. The audience in the studio should be astute enough to pounce on politicians trying to spin a yarn. Politics should be made more ethical and debates should separate the grain from the chaff. The Presidential Debates in America are good reference points where Presidential hopefuls either made indelible impressions or sunk their aspirations for good.

  • 2.
  • At 05:58 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • James Moran wrote:

Question Time is much more vigorous than the presidential debates in the US, which have such strict rules and regulations that real debate is stifled. Question Time, with it's combination of Dimbleby's input and the audience's questions and responses is the best format, in my mind.

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