Question Time

Question Time is, for the most part, great value for money. It gives us, The People, the chance to hoot and bray at idiot politicians much in the same way they shout at each other during Prime Minister’s Question Time.

It’s a lovely format and is guaranteed, week after week, to enable all of us sat at home, the chance to get furious and unload a week’s worth of hate in one felled swoop.

Usually, the politicians get the brunt of it but, astonishingly, last night, they were all knocked into a cocked-hat by the idiotic, reactionary dribblings of Carol Vorderman who, if there’s any justice in the world, will never work in television again after last night’s meltdown.

If you didn’t see it and want a quick bite-sized snippet of how bad she was, let’s put it this way:

Carol Vorderman managed to make Boris Johnson look like an erudite, charming and competant human being.

Vorderman has always been regarded as a cuddly number-cruncher and one half of the face of Alzheimer-fest, Countdown. However, since leaving the show, she’s taken off her TV hat and revealed herself to be a sniping, right-wing, moaning idiot.

Shacked up with a Daily Mail hack and acting as an advisor for the Tory party, and not to mention those dreadful loan-shark ads, Vorderman has transformed into a poster-girl for Bigot Britain.

Of course, this meant she was going to spew piously on our TVs and, in the face of Will Self, made for fifty-percent of one of the most hilarious face-offs in television. Forget Frost-Nixon, we clearly need Self-Vorders.

Basically, with a face like a pug licking a burst car-battery, Vorderman sneered at every single thing uttered in favour of our current Government, only to later be seen politely tittering as Boris Johnson piped up with a “in defence of the government, they’ve got this one right…”.

Honestly, it was incredible viewing. If anyone wants an easy, go-to example of how shitty and small minded Britain can be, all they should do is watch Carol Vorderman’s performance on Question Time last night.

I bet David Cameron watched it and kicked the cat senseless everytime she opened her gaping gob. If the Tories lose the next election, she could well be to blame. Vorderman became a British Sarah Palin… only with less idea about the country she lives in.

Breath-taking.

In a shameless bid to jump on the traffic bandwagon, I’m getting this post out quickly. Also, to ride the stirring of political feeling that briefly flashed through Britain and its various social networking sites.

You see, for the first time in yonks, Question Time (BBC One) managed to get people feeling political.

Whilst many have bemoaned the fact that the BBC were allowing a racist on the panel, most have come away from the viewing (well, most people I’ve noticed with my jaundiced eye) feeling thrilled at Griffin’s ineptitude and the fervour in which everyone (they knew) disagreed with what he said.

Sadly, one thing that gnaws away in my brain somewhere is the fact that our real talent is aroused when a no-hope, unelectable party with dangerous views gets involved on a national show, rather than the ones that are most likely to get into the seat of power.

As fun as the show was, and as thrilling as seeing Nick Griffin getting a bit of a mauling, I came away from the show feeling like we’d not really learned a great deal. Sure, it was a good thing that a national show which has an incredible amount of publicity (which, thanks to protests outside Television Centre and other BBC buildings) could let Griffin speak and, effectively, offend anyone who doesn’t like racism or homophobia… but I still feel like there’s a hell of a lot of people who may share his views who don’t tune in to That Sort Of Show.

Essentially, it was a little bit like preaching to the converted.

However, regardless of that, I’m also left with a glowing feeling that there’s a lot of people in Britain who cannot bear to hear what he’s got to say. It’s also great to see that freedom-of-speech is valued by the BBC and that they should be applauded for being brave enough to stick their collective necks out and allow this debate, warts and all, loose in the public forum.

From a TV perspective, Dimbleby showed himself to be the master ring leader, doing an admirable job in what could’ve been a dumb, public stoning. It’s pretty obvious that everyone involved on-screen will walk away from the transmission thinking ‘that went reasonably well’, including Griffin (it could’ve been far worse… he could’ve been punched in the gob).

The key thing to remember is that, whilst this became a huge televisual spectacle, Griffin actually believes in what he says. This wasn’t an exercise in seeing someone get a new arse-hole torn open, but rather, an invaluable insight into a worrying trend in a small section of Britain.

I can only hope that this TV show manages to stir people for long enough to actually turn out at the polls in the next election. Question Time may not have given any answers, but it has fired a warning shot.

Oh… and everyone clearly now fancies Bonnie Greer.

Nick Griffin‘s imminent appearance on the BBC’s Question Time has caused a furore that we haven’t seen for some time. Some have shunned the show for allowing a Right Wing voice whilst others have implied that Auntie should be criminally investigated for inviting the BNP to a show.

As such, security is being beefed up and extra security checks are being carried out by the BBC on the audience for the controversial show, due to air this week.

The Guardian reports that the background and personal details of members of the public who have applied to appear on this Thursday’s edition current affairs show have been “subject to more stringent vetting than usual.”

Phone numbers, email addresses – as well as which party they would vote for if a general election was called tomorrow and the like – have been taken in an attempt to prevent any disturbance at the show.

With this, it is understood that the BBC are hoping to ensure that a balanced audience with a range of political views, including BNP, is accounted for.

What is clear is that the show, which is being filmed at Television Centre, will be surrounded by anti-fascist protesters who will want to give Griffin a piece of their mind as he enters the building. It is likely that Griffin will be smuggled in, Beatles-style, for the broadcast.

Whatever happens, the show is likely to make scintillating television. Regardless of whether you agree with Griffin’s dialogue, I personally think it’s a good thing that he’s been asked to participate. I value free-speech, and therefore, all voices should be heard, no matter how uncomfortable and angry it could potentially make me.

There seems to be an unnatural fear of Griffin’s words and appearance on the show, which leads me to believe that people are worried that, rather than being set-upon by an angry mob, he will actually sound quite reasonable and come away from the programme with minimal scratches.

If that’s the case, then the fear surely lies in the fact that everyone who opposes the BNP hasn’t sharpened their arguments enough and could potentially come away licking wounds. That said, I’m hoping (and here’s my political agenda) that Griffin is allowed to speak openly and uninterrupted so everyone can see just how foul his views are. Fools tends to make idiots of themselves without much help from everyone else.

There’s trouble brewing. This trouble is in the shape of the BNP. You see, the BNP have been invited to guest on Question Time, the topical debate show which blah blah blah… you know what it is surely?

Denis McShane in The Guardian is calling the whole thing a ‘disgraceful PR stunt’ and that the BBC should not be allowing “fascists” a platform in which to speak.

While it’s true that, personally speaking of course, Nick Griffin & Co have a dreadful agenda… however, as Voltaire said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

The fact is, not allowing the BNP a platform in which to speak with deny the gathered throng the right to lay the smackdown on him in a very public forum. It’s clear that most people find Griffin’s politics abhorrent and as such, if he is given the chance to speak, then in turn, there will be a throng of people itching to have their reply.

We The People don’t often get the chance to harangue politicians and we should thrill at the chance to do so. In the case of Griffin, he’s notoriously hermit like, only mixing with those that agree with his views or TV pundits. Now, for the first time, we could well see the fear in his eyes as he is shot at from all angles by furious members of the public.

Also, giving him the chance to spout, unedited, he may well dig his own grave and show everyone how appalling his views really are.

This is a wonderful chance for the public to flex their muscle about what they think is right and that right shouldn’t be taken away because some rag thinks it’s in bad taste. Sure, what he says is clearly wrong, but in a democracy, we really do have to listen to everything… even the stuff we really don’t like.

This could be the most important episode of Question Time in years and well worth tuning in for.

Schools Question Time will get its debut on BBC Three on Thursday 9 July and BBC One has extended the current run of Question Time by a further two editions.

Schools Question Time airs first on BBC Three live at 8.00pm on 9 July and then broadcasts at the usual time of 10.35pm on BBC One.

This year’s Schools Question Time comes from Salford.

The 36-week series of Question Time, produced by Mentorn Media, has been extended with the BBC commissioning a further two episodes to run on 16 and 23 July, transmitting from Colchester and Stevenage.

Mentorn Media’s Executive Producer, Steve Anderson, said: “It’s been a remarkable period politically and the audience has been switching on to Question Time in their millions.

“It’s the only place on television where politicians are accountable to the public. It’s good that people want more politics not less.”

BBC Three Controller Danny Cohen said: “Broadcasting this youthful edition of Question Time is part of BBC Three’s ever-growing commitment to serious factual programmes.”

Audience figures for Question Time have exceeded three million regularly over the past six weeks.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1