Five Ways To Improve BBC Question Time…

BBC Question Time has been getting rather stale recently in my opinion, so here are five ideas that could help improve the format of the programme:-

Sack David Dimbleby- After sixteen years chairing the panel Dimbleby has become past his prime in both the political and fashion stakes (case in point- the “spider tie”). But who should replace him were he to leave? Huw Edwards, Jon Humphrys and Jeremy Paxman are all worthy candidates but I think the best fit at this time would be Jon Sopel. Sopel proved during the General Election campaign that he could chair discussions effectively as part of The Campaign Show nightly and when Parliament sits with The Politics Show. His antics in Rothbury earlier this year weren’t his finest hour however.

Move the start time to 9pm- David Attenborough looking at sea-horses in the Seychelles, Police car chases narrated by Jamie Theakston and period dramas starring Dame Judi Dench, these types of programmes cover noble subjects but are not as important as dicussing the issues of the week with those who are actually elected to (or oppose) the Government. Shifting Question Time to the more accessible time of 9pm would hopefully boost interest in politics and allow Andrew Neil, Diane Abbott (she isn’t winning the Labour Leadership folks) and Michael Portillo to get home at a reasonable hour if This Week was shifted to just after the BBC News.

Tape the programme the night before- Having the taping last two hours and editing it down to an hour instead of the “as live/one take” format employed at the moment would make the hour have no down time or inane rambling from audience members who wish to push their (sometimes bizarre) agenda.

Reduce the amount of panelists to four and reserve one seat for the minor parties- Four panelists instead of five would allow for more questions to be asked during the hour. As for the make-up of the four panelists, a Coalition representative, a Labour representative, a minor party representative (for example from The Green Party, English Democrats or a nationalist depending on location) and an editors pick of who could be outspoken/entertaining/controversial (more David Starkey than Ruth Lea) would be a solid panel.

Select politicians of equal standing in politics- Whilst I accept the BBC can only invite who the parties release to the broadcaster, the editors should try to pick politicians of equal standing. This would mean only ministers could only face off against shadow ministers, Lords could only face off against other Lords and Alistair Campbell could face off against no-one.


3 Responses to “Five Ways To Improve BBC Question Time…”

  1. John Bryant Says:

    I quite agree, particularly with giving a voice to the English Democrats
    whose main aim is to have an English Parliament in line with the Scottish, Irish and Welsh chambers. It is ridiculous that the Electorate in the majority (when it comes to raising revenue) are denied their own democratic voice. The last government was dominated by a Scottish controlled Labour Party pursuing goals that enhanced Scottish jobs
    and developments at Englands expense.

  2. Mr Hargreaves Says:

    This is a great idea and I agree with every point, especially the fourth point ‘Reduce the amount of panelists to four and reserve one seat for the minor parties’.

  3. Alan Culbert Says:

    There is a drawback to editing the tape. This is the BBC we are dealing with and it is generally acknowledged that for a number of years now the organisation has been left of centre. I wouldn’t trust the BBC to be totally impartial in their editing. In any event despite the drawbacks you mention, I do prefer a spontaneous programme. It would spoil the fun if gaffes etc. were edited out.

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