BBC launches most ambitious election debate series ever
The BBC has invited the UK's leading political figures to take part in a series of election debates.
I covered my first election in 1987 and it’s an absolute thrill to have played a part over the years as a researcher, producer, political editor and now as debate host.
The BBC will broadcast two prime-time election debate programmes, as well as a special leaders’ edition of Question Time and a debate programme aimed at younger audiences and first time voters. In addition there will be separate debates in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Today presenter and former BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson will host two debate programmes live on BBC One, one between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn and another featuring seven GB party representatives.
The BBC Prime Ministerial Debate on Friday 6 December sees a head to head between Conservative Party leader, Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, live from Southampton.
On Friday 29 November, The BBC Election Debate will be broadcast live from Cardiff on BBC One and BBC Radio 5 live. It will feature a seven-way podium debate between leaders or senior figures from the seven major GB political parties. The format will see each of the panellists make short opening statements; these will then be followed by questions and debate. At the end of the debate the representatives will be invited to make short closing statements.
Nick Robinson says: “The BBC Prime Ministerial Debate and The BBC Election Debate will illuminate the choice we all face between competing parties, leaders, policies and visions for the country. They are just one of many ways the BBC aims to do that. I hope they’ll reach people who don’t normally switch on for politics on TV. I covered my first election in 1987 and it’s an absolute thrill to have played a part over the years as a researcher, producer, political editor and now as debate host.”
Question Time Leaders’ Special
On Friday 22 November, Fiona Bruce will be hosting a Question Time Leaders’ Special, broadcast from Sheffield on BBC One and BBC Radio 5 live. Across two hours, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon and Jo Swinson will each be invited to take questions from the audience for thirty minutes.
In the run up to the election, Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, is expected to take part in a 30 minute Question Time special and Sian Berry or Jonathan Bartley, leaders of the Green Party, will also feature on an audience focused special programme.
Plaid Cymru party leader Adam Price will also feature on an audience debate programme on BBC One Wales.
Following the election result, there will be a Question Time special broadcast on BBC One on Friday 13 December at 8.30pm.
Fiona Bruce says: “Question Time has a proud history of giving the public - the voters - the chance to put their points and questions directly to their elected representatives. That’s never more important than during an election campaign. I’m very much looking forward to these special programmes.”
Question Time Under 30
On Monday 9 December the BBC is planning a 90 minute Question Time for younger audiences hosted by Emma Barnett. A selected audience of under-30s will question leading figures from each of the main parties, and it will be broadcast in prime time on BBC One at 20.30. Radio 1, 1Xtra and 5 live will partner in the coverage, and there will be full digital coverage.
Emma Barnett says: “Young voters and their needs should not be forgotten about by the party leaders this election. From the cost of living, to job opportunities, education, housing, Brexit and beyond - this special programme will seek answers to these burning questions from an important but often overlooked perspective. These people are at the beginning of their voting career and this election will be generation defining.”
The BBC Wales Live team will host two live debates as they put key questions to a panel of politicians. The first debate takes place in Pembrokeshire on Tuesday 26 November with the second on Tuesday 3 December from North Wales.
In Welsh, S4C’s Pawb a’i Farn and BBC Radio Cymru’s Hawl i Holi will be putting questions to the politicians in towns and villages across Wales.
On 10 December, with just two days until the country goes to the polls, BBC Scotland will broadcast its Scotland Leaders debate live from Pacific Quay in Glasgow. Sarah Smith will chair the programme in front of an audience with party leaders facing questions about the issues that matter most to them.
In addition to broadcasting the programme live, the BBC Scotland channel will air a half hour Debate Spin Room show from the venue before the debate. Commentators, journalists, politicians and analysts will discuss how the debate will be won and lost. The channel's flagship news programme, The Nine, will have first reaction to the debate from the Spin Room.
BBC Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland the leaders of the main parties will be invited to take part in a debate in front of a studio audience. The NI Leaders’ Debate will be on BBC One NI on Tuesday 10 December at 10.45pm and will be chaired by Noel Thompson.