I was struck this evening by an article in this evening’s free (and more of this anon becauseI find it quite interesting what’s going on there) Evening Standard. It was by Yasmin Alibhai Brown, and concerned the forthcoming appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on the TV programme Question Time. (The full article is – here) It did make me wonder whether I live in quite the same world as its author.
The bit that particularly brought me up short was as follows –
“Democracy, is it? To open the most respected TV programme in the land to those who would deny millions of us our democratic rights? Throw the BNP to John Humphrys or Nicky Campbell if you must, but this honour stains the good name of Question Time.
We all want to get on to Question Time – but there are limits. These panellists will help to normalise those who should be pariahs.”
“We all want to get on Question Time”? Do we? Really? I don’t have the slightest interest in appearing on the show, and I don’t suppose many other people do either. I don’t even watch it very often, admittedly largely because it’s on past my bedtime (I have to get up at 5.30). Perhaps YAB knows no-one apart from the kind of people who are likely, or at least eager to appear on Question Time.
“The most respected TV programme in the land”. Is it really? By whom? Apart from the kind of people who, as I say, are likely, or eager to appear on it.
“Throw the BNP to John Humphrys or Nicky Campbell if you must” Nicky Campbell? That’ll put the wind up the blighters, for sure.
The average viewing figures for Question Time appear to be approximately 2.8 million, making it slightly less popular than Autumnwatch. Its most popular episode ever (the expenses scandal inquisition) attracted 3.8 million, about 200,000 less than an everage episode of Nigel Slater’s simple suppers. Antiques Roadshow last week attracted 5.26 million.
My personal view is that the BBC could offer Nick Griffin a weekly spot as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, provide him with a voice coach, a stylist and scriptwriter and the fact that he is quite clearly a Grade A fathead would still come through loud and clear. He’d be very lucky if his share of the vote didn’t disappear altogether.
I probably shall tune in next week – I have a day off on Friday – in the sure and certain hope that Griffin will, as he always does, make a prize arse of himself. The slight difficulty here – which I’d guess won’t have escaped those sympathetic to the BNP – is that a great many other irregular viewers will be tuning in too, and the programme may well achieve record ratings. The last time a larger than usual audience was anticipated (for the expenses scandal edition) the BBC – quite absurdly, in my view – brought the programme forward in the schedule – are they planning to do the same thing again, do we think?