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Hosting

If you would like to invite the BBC Radio 4 programme Any Questions? to your venue, hall or space, please find here an outline of what we would need from you.

We are keen to receive invitations from as many different kinds of venues as possible from around the UK. If you'd like to host us but are concerned you don't have the experience or facilities, please contact us and we can advise: any.questions@bbc.co.uk .

Some Background On The Show

Any Questions? is the flagship political panel programme that goes out live on Friday evenings at 8pm on BBC Radio 4 (repeated on Saturday afternoons at 1.10pm). It was first broadcast in October 1948 and its current chair is Jonathan Dimbleby. Each week Any Questions? visits a different part of the country with a diverse panel of four speakers who answer questions from the audience. The programme provides the opportunity for people to challenge leading politicians, policy makers, writers and thinkers.

Approximate Time Guide to the evening

  • - 18:30 Doors open to the public
  • - 19:25 The venue's welcome followed by the BBC's warm-up at 19:30
  • - 19:45 The BBC producer calls the questioners to the front row
  • - 20:00 BBC Radio 4 News
  • - 20:02 Live broadcast of Any Questions? (ends 8.50pm)

Guide to Hosting Any Questions

1. THE AUDIENCE

One of the chief responsibilities for you, the organiser, is the distribution of the tickets.

Admission to the programme is free. We will send the tickets to you directly from the printers approximately 10 weeks ahead of the programme.

Members of your organisation will want to have first call on the tickets, but at least one third of the tickets must be made available to the general public on a first come, first served basis.

Please offer a number of tickets to the local political parties in your area. We suggest you let them know you are hosting the programme and that you will hold approximately 10 tickets for each of them. It can of course be less or more depending on the total number of seats in your venue. Please ask our advice if you wish. We will be in touch before the broadcast to discuss take up.

Any tickets that haven't been taken up 1 week before broadcast can be released to the general public.

2. HEALTH AND SAFETY

Housekeeping: We will ring you in advance to ask you who (from your venue) will be responsible in emergencies - fire, first aid, 999 calls, and security.

Please nominate someone to introduce your venue to the live audience, who will point out fire exits and explain evacuation and emergency procedures.

First aid: One trained First Aider and a suitably equipped First Aid box should be on site for the evening.

Fire exits: The location of all fire exits together with evacuation procedures will be checked with you on the day.

Security: Please nominate an experienced person(s) to be present in the hall before and during the broadcast.

Wheelchair access: Please ensure there is easy wheelchair access for anyone attending with disabilities. Please make us aware of your disabled access when we arrive.

Hearing aids: Please note we can provide an Induction Loop facility for anyone using a hearing aid.

3. PUBLICITY

Posters: We will send you BBC Radio 4 Any Questions? posters approximately 10 weeks in advance. The best places to hang these will be where a broad cross-section of the local community can see them: e.g. public libraries, town halls, sports and leisure centres. We may be able to indicate the names of some of the panellists in advance but please be aware that they can change up to the last minute.

Local Media: You should contact the nearest BBC Local Radio stations and the editorial offices of both your local and regional newspapers to let them know that Any Questions? is coming to your venue. You may like to give an interview to tell their audiences about the event.

Photography: There is an opportunity for press photographs to be taken of the panel before the programme during the 'warm up' question. Please be aware that no photographs can be taken during the broadcast because of the disturbance it causes.

4. THE QUESTIONS

The quality of the questions that the audience ask is crucial to the success of the programme. We look for questions on the most stimulating moral, political and social issues of the day - the current issues that will get people talking.

Questions are submitted on the night, and people can submit questions on any topic they like. We will provide you with an aide memoire on what's been in the week's news.

Questions can be submitted up to the last minute and there is no limit on the numbers of questions each person can put in.

The programme strives to achieve a varied choice of subjects from week to week while keeping an eye on the week's news' agenda, and we cannot guarantee what subjects we will cover. As the programme broadcasts to a UK-wide audience, we will not select questions on purely local issues unless they raise matters of genuine national interest.

Questions cannot be put by proxy; each questioner must be present in the hall for their question to be included.

5. YOUR VENUE

We would like to ask you to draw a rough sketch of the space intended for use, indicating the seating area; the stage/platform; the entrances and exits; and the location of two rooms which will become the production room and the green room (see information further down).

6. SET-UP

On the day of broadcast, the venue space must be available from 12pm - 10pm to allow time for our sound engineers to set up, test and take down their equipment.

The hall: By 3pm, please ensure the hall is set up with stage carpeted, 3 tables and 6 chairs (on stage) and audience chairs (in hall) set out.

The platform: Please provide a platform or stage with adequate top-lighting. The overall size of the stage should be a minimum of 25 feet x 15 feet, preferably at least 2 feet from the floor.

The tables: Three tables, measuring a minimum of 4 feet by 2 feet should be arranged end to end on the platform, along with six chairs.

The programme's producer and chairman will sit at the centre table, with two panellists on either side.

We ask you to provide carpeting or matting for the tables and chairs to rest on to prevent our microphones from picking up sounds of scraping chairs or shuffling feet during the broadcast. We will provide BBC Radio 4 branded cloths to cover the tables.

The audience chairs: In the audience seating, please allocate 15 seats in the centre of the front row for production purposes (10 for those members of the audience whose questions have been selected and who will be called down to the front just before the programme starts and 5 more slotted among these for the Production Coordinator to use.)

We will provide reserved notices for this seating (and any others that are required).

NB The total number of seats in your hall must comply with local fire regulations and with your hall's public liability insurance.

The two backstage rooms: We need the use of two backstage rooms near the hall. Both rooms need access to the stage without going through the audience: one of these will be the Production Office for the production team to work in. This is where the questions should be brought. We ask you to provide two large tables, three chairs, plus an easily accessible power supply. We bring our own computer for typing questions, but it would be very helpful if you could identify a convenient computer and printer we could use for internet access.

The second room - the Green Room - should be reasonably close to the stage and will be where the panellists sit before they go on stage. This room does not need to be large as they will only be there for approximately 10 minutes.

We hope they won't have to walk through the audience before reaching the stage.

7. COSTS

The BBC pays a £200 facility fee to cover use of the hall, administration costs and any expenses on the night, for example chair hire or support staff.

We occasionally pay for extra advertising if it is necessary. Please call us to discuss.

Unfortunately, we are not able to cover any costs that have not been cleared in advance with us.

8. SITE SURVEY

The BBC's engineers will visit your venue some weeks before the broadcast as they will need to assess its technical capacity. They will contact you directly to arrange a convenient time.

Nearer the date, BT may also visit to install and test temporary lines for carrying the broadcast.

9. CHAIR AND PANEL

The chair arrives at approx. 7.10pm and the panellists arrive at 7.40pm

Before they come to the venue, we like to organise some pre-programme hospitality at a nearby restaurant.

We would appreciate any advice you can give us on where we can best find reasonably priced good local food, open from 5pm.

10. STEWARDS ON THE NIGHT

Please provide a small team of stewards on the night to help supervise the evening. They should guide and seat the audience as they arrive, monitor parking arrangements and help collect questions.

After 6.30pm two of the stewards should act as runners to carry the questions in batches to the production office where they will be sorted. We ask that they do this as frequently as possible.

A steward should also be allocated to meet the chair when s/he arrives (approx 7.10pm) and take him/her to the production office where the producer is working.

A steward should also be allocated to meet the panellists when they arrive (approx 7.35pm or 9.40pm) to take them directly to their green room (backstage room 2).

After the programme, if you are intending to provide hospitality, it is helpful to nominate four stewards (one per panellist) to escort the panel to the room you have chosen.

11. CAR PARKING

The Outside Broadcast van needs ONE large parking space all day. We may need a second space next to it if a second van is required on the night.

Please reserve a minimum of three and a maximum of eight car parking spaces for our production cars - we can confirm the exact numbers on the day of broadcast if your car parking is limited.

12. HOSPITALITY

Some venues like to provide light refreshments after the programme as it is a chance to meet and chat with the panellists and chair. It is up to you what you provide and who you invite.

Thank you in advance for all your help and co-operation, and we look forward to producing a successful evening with you.

13. BBC CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

We work in compliance with the BBC’s Child Protection Policy which means we treat children and young people with respect and dignity; we do not offer our own or ask for personal details from any child or young person. We would not place ourselves in a supervisory position regarding any children, and we would report any concerns we had about a child or young person to our contact in the school or venue.

For more information please see the BBC's Child Protection Policy

14. ELECTIONS

If anyone on the organising team is standing for election, we need to know.