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Gavin Greig [userpic]

Question Time Response

June 27th, 2013 (07:56 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

Here's the response I got to my complaint to Question Time:

Dear Dr. GREIG

Thanks for taking the time to contact the BBC about Question Time, broadcast on 13 June 2013. We forwarded your concerns to the Executive Editor who passed on the following response:

Question Time is a current affairs programme that covers a range of subjects and debates issues in a UK context. It chooses panellists carefully across the series. We regularly invite politicians and non-politicians from one part of the UK to appear on the programme in other parts of the UK. This programme was no different – it was not an independence special discussing exclusively issues related to the independence referendum. It dealt with a range of topical issues in the news. We aim to offer the audience across the UK as well as in the room, as wide a range of voices and opinions on the issues being discussed as possible.

The only difference in this edition was in the makeup of the audience. 16 and 17 year olds have been given the vote for the first time in next year's independence referendum and we wanted to look at what sort of things were of interest to and influenced this age group, to acknowledge why these people were being given the vote.

The composition of the audience reflected both those for and against independence, and contained a number of people who were undecided. It was also broadly representative of voting patterns across the party political spectrum.

The Green Party has been on the programme twice since March, and we have offered the Scottish Greens a seat on the panel the next time we come to Scotland in the next series.

Nigel Farage represents a party with growing UK support and their recent electoral gains since the 2010 general election makes them of interest to our audience.

Thanks again for contacting us.
Kind Regards
BBC Complaints

No surprises there then.


Posted by: Toby Atkin-Wright (tobyaw)
Posted at: June 28th, 2013 10:23 am (UTC)

I think there is a wider problem with Question Time — politicians cannot developed a nuanced argument in the time available to them, particularly with the confrontation inherent in the setup and the constant striving for “balance”. QT’s reliance on light entertainment stars and comedians to provide facile, audience-pleasing answers, sucks intelligence and depth from the programme.

It must be popular, though; every Thursday my Twitter feed explodes in anguish as people complain about QT.

Radio 4’s “Any Questions?” does it all so much better. It’s a format that benefits from not having cameras to play to.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: June 28th, 2013 12:21 pm (UTC)

I've not listened to "Any Questions?" in a long time. I used to regard it and Question Time as being quite similar, but maybe they've drifted apart over the years. (My comparison may have been based on Robin Day's Question Time!)

Posted by: myceliumme (myceliumme)
Posted at: June 29th, 2013 01:13 pm (UTC)

Did the inclusion of Mr Farage occur after the rumpus in an Edinburgh pub? If so, his appearance could be regarded as either simply topical or independence-related. Some people might be attracted to Scottish independence in order to leave UKIP and its ilk south of the border.

Similarly, those who are in favour of Scotland having good relationships with continental Europe may have welcomed another chance for Mr Farage to publicise his contempt for Scotland, assuming that this contempt exists and Mr F is brazen or stupid enough to show it - I didn't see the episode.

Either way, I tend to agree that a show about an important thing in Scotland, about which rUK will not have a say should feature the arguments of both sides, and the Scottish politicians involved. On those 'special' episodes I have seen, questions on other topics do occur, usually as light relief, so the 'not a special episode' argument is somewhat specious.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: June 29th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)

Yes, it was after that.

As it turned out, I thought the two pro-independence speakers on the panel (Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster, and Lesley Riddoch) were more effective than the other four anyway - although I may be biased on this matter!

However, while how the independence argument came off is of interest to me (and of course the Greens favour independence), I would rather have seen the Lib Dems (anti-independence) included as well. The Scottish Greens seem to have got particularly few invites over the years, though, and that seemed especially unfair to me.

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