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What is the QT50?

Question Time is BBC One's flagship political debate programme. Chaired by Fiona Bruce, each week we give members of the public the chance to hold politicians and prominent figures to account. The coronavirus outbreak has changed the way Question Time has operated for more than forty years, most notably with a virtual audience joining from home via videolink.

In early 2021, as we wait for the vaccine and a return to studio audiences, we are launching the QT50 – an audience panel of 50 people selected from the general public from across the United Kingdom. We will invite a selection of them to be the Question Time audience each week, so they will each appear more than once. Still joining virtually from home via videolink. Over the course of several weeks, they will have more time to voice their opinions, have their say, share stories, questions and concerns.

The pandemic has turned upside down many aspects of how an audience programme such as Question Time works. The QT50 is a temporary experiment while we wait for studio audiences to return.

Interested? Read more below. We hope you will apply.

WHY is question time changing How it recruits audiences?

The limitations of videolink have changed the dynamic between Question Time audiences and our panel and made it harder for the audience to have their say. We hope the QT50 audience panel will get to know and engage with each other – in the way that studio audiences of old would. By seeing them over the course of several weeks, viewers can follow the evolution of their response to the pandemic and other issues. The producers of Question Time will also work with each of them to make sure their camera, sound and lighting is as good as it can be, removing barriers to participation.

How can I join the Question Time audience PANEL?

We’re looking for people in all parts of the UK who are passionate about having their say on the programme. The coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone, and we want to hear your views, share your stories, questions and concerns with viewers across a number of weeks.

You must be available at home on most (not all) Thursday evenings from January 2021. The producers will always aim to give you advance notice but occasionally we might contact you at short notice to invite you on to a particular edition of the programme. Don’t worry about the technical side of things, our producers will guide you step-by-step on how to be involved from home.

why do you need to know all this personal info?

The QT50 audience panel is designed to reflect the broad range of political opinions on many issues across the United Kingdom. That could be voting history, point of view on big issues like Brexit and Independence, as well as gender, economic and ethnic background. The producers of Question Time will speak directly to hundreds of people from across the country who have applied to be part of QT50 audience panel, to ensure a wide range of views are represented in the audience.

Both the BBC and Mentorn handle your data securely and in line with their data protection obligations.

Am I eligible to be in the audience?

You can apply to be part of the QT50 audience panel if you live in the UK, are eligible to vote in the UK General Election and have not appeared on Question Time in the last ten years. If you applied previously but were unsuccessful, we welcome your application. But if you are already active in politics, are a politician or campaign for a political party, our audience panel is unfortunately not for you.

If accepted into our audience panel, our producers will guide you step-by-step on joining the programme from home.

Do I need to be available every week?

If you are selected into the QT50 audience panel, we expect you to be available at home on most (not all) Thursday evenings from January 2021. We do however understand you may have other commitments some weeks, and we will work around that.

What about the devolved nations?

We will do audiences in the usual way when we go to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so the QT50 will just be for the other weeks. The QT50 will include people from the devolved nations as well as all the major regions of England.

Apply to join the QT50 by completing this form.