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The younger generation

James Stephenson | 16:32 UK time, Thursday, 5 July 2007

Question Time logoLots of things seem designed to make us feel our age, but having an 18-year-old panellist on Question Time has got to be right up there with fresh-faced policemen or thirty-something Cabinet ministers.

Well, we've got two out of three on tonight's special edition of Question Time. Charlie Bell is on his gap year and won his place after appearing in a mock QT yesterday. Ed Miliband, freshly elevated to the Cabinet, is also on. As if that wasn't enough, the show is being co-produced by eight students from four winning schools in the Schools Question Time Challenge and they've decided the studio audience should be between 14 and 22.

Charlie BellIt's a delicate thing handing over a large degree of editorial control to a team who aren't even old enough to vote. So far it's going well, although tonight will be the acid test. It's got to be worth it if it proves that we're open to a generation which is often dismissed as apathetic and they can prove they're up to the job.

David Dimbleby (age unknown) is so enthusiastic he suggested on Breakfast this morning (which you can watch by clicking here) that there should be a young version of Question Time every week - maybe on BBC3. Perhaps Davina McCall, who's also on tonight's panel, might be interested in presenting it.

UPDATE 6 July: Click here to watch Schools Question Time.

FURTHER UPDATE AT 1530, 6 JULY: Charlie Bell and two of the student producers of Schools Queston Time were interviewed by Anita Anand on Radio Five Live after the show (which you can listen to by clicking here).


  • 1.
  • At 04:45 PM on 05 Jul 2007,
  • Kendrick Curtis wrote:

Sure, because having someone with the heavyweight political background and incisive intellect of Davina McCall will really draw kids into the exciting world of politics.

Will they be able to vote a member out of the commons every week until the one who's left gets to be PM by default?

I was at last years event, when I still worked for the BBC,

  • 3.
  • At 06:23 PM on 05 Jul 2007,
  • Phil Topping wrote:

A tiny proportion of the UK's university population will go to a university in Cambridge, and yet the BBC manage presumably completely bu chance to pick someone who is going to go to a university in Cambridge. As usual you pick someone from a privileged background to represent the "yoof" of today. What's the matter? Couldn't find any working class students? Too difficult to get some one from a state school? Or is it just the BBC's institutional myopia preventing it from picking people from other backgrounds?

You wonder why younger people aren't interested in politics? Your choice of panelist couldn't be any more ironic

  • 4.
  • At 11:02 PM on 05 Jul 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

What has happened to the BBC in the last dozen years?
It is no longer the most insightful, intelligent, courageous news broadcast in the world. It's more akin to American
news and NPR with obvious, glaring, bias and improper "sensitivities" that trump hard cold facts, open dialog, plain talk
and objective reporting... It has drifted so far that "alternative" sources are now the preferred method for
serious minded people to accumulate the data for an informed opinion. What happened there? Who is at fault? Who allows the writers to write as such or who butchers their reporting to present the pablum now served to us by the BBC?
Thank you,

  • 5.
  • At 12:04 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • John wrote:

I only caught the tail end of this episode (shame on me!), but I thought it was very refreshing to see what the younger generation, albeit mainly politics students, are feeling about the country today.

Having previously served many years within a student union myself, where generally apathy is rife, I think that if this was to be a permament addition to the BBC airwaves, then what better person to chair than Davina: she has grabbed the nation's young and old(ish) alike with /that/ show, so go ahead and give her the chair. Surely it can only bring more voters to the ballot and then surely we can finally hear the voices of the demographic that every politician is scratching their heads to try and target?

  • 6.
  • At 12:17 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Ellie wrote:

Hi I'm Ellie, I'm only just 14, and this article seems to be a bit ageist.
I watch Question Time, This Week and lots of Jeremy Paxman interviews they are probably my favourite programmes and I take a great interest in politics.
Why is introducing politics to a younger audience such a bad thing, when surely if taught at a younger age, we shall develop better ideas for the future?
I don't see why a young cabinet is looked on as a bit risky when if people are younger they probably have younger ideas which communicate with the population. It's not as if the cabinet ministers are 21.
Take gay marriages, an older person has been brought up on different moral values, being probably that homosexuality is wrong. Whereas a person with new ideas because they have been brought up with change, can affect a greater deal of people.
Anyway that's just my thoughts,
Ellie, 14

  • 7.
  • At 01:15 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Apathetic or pathetic does it really matter? It can only go up from where it is.

  • 8.
  • At 02:22 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

Firstly, I am 32 not in the 18-22 age group and I have to say that this Question Time was one of the best I have watched in recent times.

I was mightily impressed by Charlie Bell, who as an 18 year old seemed far more educated in political and world affairs than I did at that age. Charlie gave well argued points and was considered throughout, something which completely belied his age.

Perhaps we should have a wider-age group in each weeks' show, if we don't have a BB3 version of QT.

Great programme and goes to show that our youth are interested in Politics and the card they are not, shouldn't be constantly played each time when debating how to engage the youth of the UK with political issues.

  • 9.
  • At 04:08 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Emma wrote:

David Dimbleby is 69 :)

  • 10.
  • At 08:38 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

I would like to see a version of the show with more heavyweight politicians - although Charlie Bell did extremely well - and see how they handle themselves in front of a QT audience of young people. This would be more instructive than having the younger end of politicians who already should have more empathy with the younger generation.

On another note - the question on should the voting age be reduced to 16 - my response why 16? Why not 15? why not 17? the answer is that all limits are somewhat arbitrary. This government is considering raising the age to purchase alcohol to 21 in off licences - so should not the voting age be 21?

  • 11.
  • At 09:21 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

I thought Charlie did fine. I had two issues with the programme - one, Davina McCall's contribution was laughable (I can only assume James was joking when he contemplate the thought of her presenting a BBC 3 Junior QT), and secondly, the jeering of the audience (usually the lefties, who always preach tolerance, but only if you have the same opinion as them!) sometimes made the programme more like a 5th form debating society, rather than a heavyweight BBC forum for sensible debate and opinion. But well done to Charlie, and with the exception of Davina, who trivialised it all, the panel were good.

  • 12.
  • At 09:35 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Davina McCall? Surely a modicum of intelligence should be a pre-requisite of appearing on the show? Or at least some evidence that a panellist has read something heavier than a comic. It's patronising when you (the BBC) panders to the big brother crowd and justify it as 'appealing to the younger generation'.

  • 13.
  • At 09:58 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • John R wrote:

I agree with #1 - if you want younger viewers to engage in serious political dialogue you can't turn around and patronise them with pop political pablum. By all means ask them for their thoughts and positions on issues but do it with a Dimbleby, not a Davina.

  • 14.
  • At 10:23 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • R Leeds wrote:

I was disappointed with last night's episode more with the panellists than the audience as both Mr Milliband, Davina and the representative of the Conservatives showed themselves to be rather dithering, and failed to provide any realistic solutions for the conflicts in the Middle East, which seemed to dominate the show.
Douglas Murray, however, was catcalled for putting forward forthright views that both looked at the history and possible solution of the problem.

As for Charlie Bell, he did well enough and expressed his opinions clearly I thought.

  • 15.
  • At 10:57 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Nigel Doran wrote:

The fact that the last winner described his experience as 'brilliant fun' speaks volumes. These winners are undoubtedly bright, involved and passionate about world affairs, but that is where they differ enormously from most other youngsters. Most others would not call this experience 'brilliant fun'. Most others would not even enter the contest. These winners are next year's leaders precisely because they are like current leaders - ie. they got involved at an early age and have a genuine calling. Most folks are not like that, whether we like to admit it or not. I don't think it is realistic to think that this kind of uber-yoof will encourage their peers to get involved to the same degree as them. These types are very special and totally unrepresentative of the British public of any age, very few of whom 'do' or 'get' politics to the same degree as some of us producers or editors would like. I think other ideas are needed, alongside an acknowledgement that your task - getting young people involved in politics (to the degree that you'd like) - is very, very hard.

  • 16.
  • At 11:55 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Jeremy Buck wrote:

First well done Guy (57 minutes in talking about youth parliament), second well done Charlie. Although he definately is NOT representative of the upbringing of the majority of young people today, his enthusiam is welcome, more young people need to pick up the paper (other than the Sun) or watch the news to get some kind of foundation to place their own opinions unpon. Citizenship was swept undet the carpet at my school as we were "taught it anyway" in RE and PSHE, but a mock election was held, which attracted more 11 and 12 year olds than 16!! Young people feel distanced from the government not only through natural prickly feelings towards all adults at that age but because they feel powerless. The one thing that will get them involved is to open the door and let them vote. As a "lefty" I do feel that tolerance is a virtue, but it always comes with a limit. Let young people speak for themselves

  • 17.
  • At 11:55 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

On last nights show Davina McCall showed just how out of touch she is with the intelligent youth of today. She was continually embarrassed by students who clearly have far more intellect than she does and resorted to an over the top cheer leader style more suited to the circus that is Big Brother. It was nice to see young people reject that and participate in mature debate, something beyond Davina judging by last nights evidence.

  • 18.
  • At 11:59 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

Why would a shouty ladette known mostly for an axed chat show and Big Brother be the ideal presenter of an in depth political discussion show?

  • 19.
  • At 12:08 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

There's nothing all that new about this. William Wilberforce became an MP all those years ago at 21, as did Bernadette Devlin in the 1960s. Pitt the younger was PM at around 25, so I don't see why Question Time should only be open to older commentators if the politicians themselves can be younger.

  • 20.
  • At 12:47 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Danie Jones wrote:

If the younger generation feel that issues that affect them are being addressed (ie gun crime, teenage pregnancy and the effect it has on your future, drugs, making ends meet in an expensive world) then they will be more interested. Also remember that many are likely to be feeling marginalised by being constantly descrbed as 'ethnic minority' and other such terms. I was involved in politics at Uni and I'll agree that apathy was then 9and probably still is now) the main problem there. But if you don't go to Uni and you only read the red tops, where's your balanced view of politics going to be?

  • 21.
  • At 12:53 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Sadia wrote:

As I approach the milestone of 30, I look back at my student days and remember thinking that all the banging lefties/campaigners would inevitably grow older to become Conservative (moral wise - now reprimanding the younger generation) and somewhat Capitalist. Here I am, almost 30, and I can take great satisfaction in my correct prediction :)

I am a great believer in Wisdom coming with Age and life experience - something an individual of 18 cannot say they have.

  • 22.
  • At 12:57 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Thomas Metcalf wrote:

David Dimbleby is entirely right in saying there should be a "young person" version of Question Time, but why should such an important new program be relegated to BBC3?

I, similar to some of the above posters, hope the suggestion of Davina McCall presenting it was a joke. The only required changes in the format are the ones we saw in the show last night:

  • A younger audience.
  • One or two, at most, panellists who are of a younger age.

Exactly how many programs are on the air where young people can see informed and communicative people of their age discussing important issues alongside members of the aging "ruling class" of the UK?

  • 23.
  • At 01:08 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Joseph Rodgers wrote:

I don't think it really makes any difference how old the panel are on Question Time, because and as this proved the kind of young people that would want to get involved in this kind of programme are exactly the people that will go on to be politicians or at least vote. It's nothing new that you get young people who know an awful lot about the world around them but these arent the kind of people that are going to get other young people interested in politics. If anything they will just ram home the reason why the majority of young people dont want to get involved.

  • 24.
  • At 01:31 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Lucy Best, 29 wrote:

#3, Phil Topping. What a typically bias, rude, arrogant and simply perverse way of looking at the way Charlie Bell was chosen to be on this programe. Perhaps if you stepped back and looked objectively at your comment and the obvious issues you -and I am sure many others feel - towards the idea that in your opinion a "privileged" individual was chosen to represent the youth population, you would see this pettiness is perhaps perverting your capability to regard Charlie as he should be viewed - not asa "pretty boy", incapable of putting forth his and anyone else's views, but a conscientious and well developed individual as shown through his mature answers on the panel last night. Hopefully this equitable viewing of the programme will give rise to your capability to understand exactly the purpose for which he was chosen: as an individual capable of choosing his own opinions and perspectives on such varied and complex issues as are affecting the British communities nowadays

  • 25.
  • At 01:45 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Tabs Rasheed wrote:

I'm taking a moment to rip apart Phil Topping's comment (no 3.) that Charlie wasn't representative because he's going to Cambridge and only a small percentage of the youth population get in to Cambridge.

I was one of the final panellists in that competition, and could have been sitting in Charlie's place, and I think that claim is laughable. We were chosen purely by dint of our debating skills and ability to handle questions, not on our backgrounds. At any rate, a significant number of today's youth don't care about politics - do you suggest we put someone on that panel who didn't know or care about current affairs, just to get an accurate representation?

The rest of us on that panel all came from different backgrounds and schools - and everyone was as vocal as Charlie in voicing their opinions. Politics is not just the reserve of the privileged, we know that. And instead of chastising the BBC for the background of the candidate that they believed the most able, shouldn't you be wondering how, with that defeatist attitude, you'll ever get to see young people from all walks of life involved in politics?

  • 26.
  • At 01:56 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Emma wrote:

I really enjoyed last nights edition of question time, especially the way Charlie Bell responded to the neo-conservative to his left; and so what if he is going to Cambridge - good on him, he is obvously an intelligent young man.

As a 25 year old I am one of only a few of my friends who actually votes (and yes we are all graduates); despite the fact my vote has never actually counted for anything as the candidate of my choice has never been eleceted. I will continue to vote, I just hope that one day proportional representation is introduced as at least then my vote will be heard!

  • 27.
  • At 02:48 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

James Stephenson, an 18 year old may make you feel your age but what does it take to make you act your age? An 18 year old does not have the knowledge to express informed opinions, his education being incomplete especially if he has the brains to attend a university. He is neither intellectually nor emotionally mature. He has no life experience in which to put events in context. Most likely his views are those of his parents or his peers, not having had the experience of thinking for himself. And he has no vested interest in protecting what he has accumulated in life because he hasn't any unless it was given to him, no money, no property, no family. Rebelious and naive by nature, why should I or anyone else pay any attention to what he has to say? If you think you are going to waste my time having me listen to it, think again. Lately, I've wondered why I should even continue to listen to the skewed opinions of those of your number who are experienced, educated, and supposedly mature.

  • 28.
  • At 03:05 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Catherine wrote:

I'm 21 and usually enjoy Question Time, but I had to turn last night's programme off after ten minutes. Why do you assume that young people - or people of any age - care what Davina McCall thinks about politics? She was ignorant about the issues and rude to the other panellists, and seemed to believe that this was something to be proud of. Please learn that young people are not all celebrity-obsessed - employ panellists because they're qualified, not because they're famous.

  • 29.
  • At 04:25 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Question Time was ruined by the childish behaviour and ignorance of Davina McCall. No wonder she 'chose' not to go to University. She appeared and sounded totally out of her depth in age 14+ company.

She even made a blatant attempt to get herself on another edition ('I'd love to come back again').

Please, BBC, learn from your mistake, and leave her to her natural audience on the yobbish Big Brother.

  • 30.
  • At 04:44 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Robert Griffiths wrote:

To lower the tone of Question Time will not encourage today's youth to tune in every Thursday. Many of us are tired now by the likes of Davina McCall and opening such a programme to her equally vacuous and shallow peers would lead to a significant downturn in ratings.

As for thinking about a "younger version" of the programme on BBC3, where are the brains of those that suggested it? Panellists are chosen for their public standing and experience. Reknown does go with public standing, but in agreement with the last post, putting people onto a panel show just because they are famous will not increase appeal.

As a 19-year-old I want to hear the opinions of my elders and betters before those of my peers. Young people do have valid opinions, which is why most universities have a debate society. As a university student I am part of such a society.

Keep Question Time panels for those that truly deserve them. I'm sure the young people won't mind.

  • 31.
  • At 04:47 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Morgan wrote:

Dear Stephen

This is in reply to an e-mail sent to me 06 July 2007 14:50:12

i am very grateful for your e-mail, I am glad you have shown intest in my
idea. Your e-mail has also given me sense of empowerment as i had little
that a large corporation such as the BBC would be interested in the veiws
and ideas of a 14 year old. I was wondering if the BBC would be interested
in a copy of the script/screenplay for the episode I also have some other
brilliant ideas regarding Doctor Who

Yours sincerely
Morgan Davies

  • 32.
  • At 05:23 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Of course if you want to see what it looks like when a bunch of 5-year-olds debate politics, you only have to watch what goes on in the House of Commons.

  • 33.
  • At 05:51 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Nicole wrote:

i would also like to rip apart #3 phil toppings comment please :) just because charlie bell was clever enough to get into cambridge doesnt necessarily mean he is from a privileged background, he may well be but it is not a fair assumption. i am going to cambridge next year yet i am from an average comprehensive school and a normal background. top universities tend to pick up on people who have strong opinions and the ability to express themselves clearly so its no wonder they offered him a place, with his political debating abilities.

  • 34.
  • At 06:31 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

I watched with interest last nights question time. It was refreshing to know that the voices of people my age might be heard for a change.

I thought the pannel was good, and certainly got alot of the auidience engaged. I was dissapointed by the choice of the young pannel member, he just seemed to be well out of his depth and was not a brilliant representation of todays youth. I mean, how many teenagers have the prospect of going to cambridge to begin with?

  • 35.
  • At 06:45 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Oliver Bald wrote:

Reading through the comments above, one point pushed me in particular. This was the fact thet Charlie Bell, an 18-year old, does not have his own views, merely those of his family or peers. Well, we can knock the first off straight away - he goes to a boarding school. His friends would be in the same situation as himself. And another point - why does his background make any difference whatsoever? He was the best man for the job. End of story; and his exceptional performance displayed that.
Rather than backstab jealous comments about him we should be rewarding him. He was definately a success.

  • 36.
  • At 08:52 PM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Kevin wrote:

I'm 23, just out of the 14-22 age range, and thought the programme was excellent; with one exemption: Davina McCall. Hopelessly out of her depth she just spouted populist nonsense that anyone off the street could have come up with. When questioned by her intellectual betters (I don't always agree with Douglas Murray but no-one could say he wasn't a heavyweight) she resorted to petty points scoring and even seemed proud of her ignorance. It is insulting to young people interested in politics to think that by having someone like her on the show, we are more likely to tune in. Please don't invite her back, and for the next 'youth' show have the courage to treat us to some proper adult debate - not the self styled 'yoof' posturings of a woman in her 40s!

  • 37.
  • At 12:06 AM on 07 Jul 2007,
  • felicity young wrote:

As a 16 year old girl, i was very much impressed with charlie bell, who may i say was gorgeous! Put him on the panel permanently and the number of viewers will increase automatically ;)

  • 38.
  • At 12:14 AM on 07 Jul 2007,
  • Phil Topping wrote:

Please I must be given the opportunity to respond to the devastating dismissals of the opinion I expressed. That's me told. I suppose if the "yoof" of today think that their views are are best expressed by someone hand picked by middle aged Head Teachers and the BBC then frankly....

And I also note that the key thrust of my point is conveniently ignored. Where are the working class kids? Where are the kids from comprehensive schools?

The silence is deafening.

  • 39.
  • At 01:12 AM on 08 Jul 2007,
  • Rachel wrote:

I find the abuse directed at Charlie because of his University highly disrespectful and frankly absurd. Our nation is obsessed by finding a working class, state school kid to be the face of everything. Whilst it is very important that all aspects of society are represented and equal access is given to all, quotas are not the way forward. Middle class, intelligent kids also make up society and we should not be ashamed of them. As a fellow Cambridge student I am constantly finding myself apologising for my University, rather than being able to be openly proud of my achievements. If we want to get 50% of people into University, then Britain needs to applaud academic achievement rather than belittle it.

  • 40.
  • At 10:11 AM on 08 Jul 2007,
  • Julian White wrote:

An interesting experiment, although I personally see no need to repeat it on a regular basis. A couple of editions a year would be of interest to keep programming fresh. However, could it be arranged for Davina McCall not to be invited again? She has no depth and made parts of the programme redundant. As a presenter of a serious political programme she would be a disaster.

  • 41.
  • At 11:11 AM on 09 Jul 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

Hey chill out old timers. It aint gonna cause no pain to hand the riegns over to the yoof for one show

  • 42.
  • At 01:25 PM on 09 Jul 2007,
  • Gareth Mawer wrote:

I thought that this programme was put together well and it reflected some very intersting views.Have to say that the attack on Davina was a bit unfair but she gave a good arguement about people who are "gifted". Can't wait for the next one!

  • 43.
  • At 02:26 PM on 09 Jul 2007,
  • greg wrote:

I'm 18 and I'm always impressed with the younger generation. They seem to be so much more insightful than some of the adult commenter's and always seem to ask the correct questions.

For example i've never heard an adult ask the very important question, that was the first asked by young people; "has the UK become a terrorist target because of its culture or because of its governments foreign policy abroad", obviously, to any sane person, the answer is the latter.

And the fact the both government officials completely denied this clearly shows the reason we are witnessing more and more terrorist acts.

when i heard that i breathed a sigh of relief, at least some people understand the fraudulent war on terror. I only hope some of the older generation can see past their entrenched views from previous wars and finally see that the reason we are under attack is directly due to our interventionist foreign policy.

If Davina McCall is a panelist on Question Time then it is time to consider if intelligent TV is a thing of the past.

Boorish, loud and proud of being ignorant.

Douglas Murray was excellent and was worth watching for him alone, even if the audience could not recognise he was the only person talking sense with perhaps the student.

  • 45.
  • At 11:24 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

divina mcall on question time was a blunder i think. she is not a politician but a jokester, thats if you think shes one, and thats how it came across.

  • 46.
  • At 10:39 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Phil Topping wrote:

My expectation was that you'd ignore the response I made to the people missing the point I'd made. Thanks for not disappointing.

  • 47.
  • At 10:52 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Ian Mayman, age 30 wrote:

I haven't seen this QT but it sounds like a great idea. As far as I've seen, complaints are about elitism such as that from Phil Topping demanding "working class students". To see an example of the outcome of using less educated people, read the comments on almost any YouTube video which often include childish insults and a proliferation of swearing and illiteracy.

  • 48.
  • At 12:21 AM on 13 Jul 2007,
  • Stan wrote:

Davina McCall continually chose to argue without engaging her brain, especially when Douglas was involved.

Her argument against his suggestion that the target of 50% of young people going to university totally missed the point.

Please can we vote her off the panel permanently as the weakest panelist that many of us have ever seen?

  • 49.
  • At 03:08 PM on 18 Jul 2007,
  • Elly wrote:

Why all the complaints about Davina McCall?
The fact that she is most widely known for presenting Big Brother has no bearing on her ability to hold valid political opinions and to express them given the chance.
She seems to be very representative of a lot of the British population; interested in politics but without the immense amount of specific knowledge about it that specialists have.
Surely it's a good thing for someone like her to appear on question time, as it's more likely to engage a bigger chunk of the population and draw them into politics?

  • 50.
  • At 03:43 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Phil Topping wrote:

"I haven't seen this QT but it sounds like a great idea. As far as I've seen, complaints are about elitism such as that from Phil Topping demanding "working class students". To see an example of the outcome of using less educated people, read the comments on almost any YouTube video which often include childish insults and a proliferation of swearing and illiteracy."

Ian Mayman's equating "working class student" with "less educated people", demonstrates my point much better I ever could. Pity it's a view shared by the producers of this programme.

No wonder British education is in the dire state it is.

Was this really the best 18-year-old they could choose, completely ignorant of the issues, supremely confident that flair is all it takes?

I certainly wouldn't want to have him as a doctor.

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