Image for How to Win the TV DebateNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour

With Britain's first-ever political leaders' television debate imminent, award-winning reporter Michael Cockerell uncovers what it's like to take part in these contests and how leaders try to win them. He tells the inside story of why it has taken so long for such debates to arrive in the UK.

The programme features candid interviews with US Presidents and their advisers on the tricks of the debate trade. Blending new film and behind-the-scenes footage, some never seen before, it's a tragicomic tale of high politics and low cunning. From John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon through to Barack Obama, candidates are seen being prepared for their debates, then in the sometimes funny, sometimes disastrous results on live television.

Cockerell shows why for our would-be next Prime Ministers - Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg - the three debate stages across Britain will be what one former US President calls 'Tension City'.

Last on

Sat 17 Apr 2010 20:30 BBC Two


Michael Cockerell
James Giles
Executive Producer
Tom Giles


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss