BBC Question Time Scrapes A Rancid Barrel

BBC’s Question Time (bbcqt) show fell from an intelligent debate forum to light entertainment several years ago.  Driven by the BBC’s fear of being boring and by the stupidity of its production team, its decline has been characterised by the inclusion of professional screaming heads as panellists and by audience members carefully selected for their willingness to belch out dumb provocative unrepresentative opinions.

An audience at bbcqt used to be a political cross-section of people from the area where the show was recorded.  Now, its location is irrelevant; the audience is never locally representative.  The current production team guarantees that every audience will have a hugely disproportionate percentage of angry, misinformed, ignorant far-right indignants whose role (on the show) is to eschew reason, logic and humanity and rant idiotically like they have just staggered out of a UKIP booze-up.  The re-emergence of the word gammon, originally used by Charles Dickens, is a direct consequence of observation of a typical bbcqt audience.  Alongside these red-faced splutterers, there are always one or two absurd caricatures of Harry Enfield’s Tory Boy character.  

Think-tank members, professional media trolls and self-satisfied smug representatives of the corporate world infest each show’s panel with nothing to offer except sneers, distraction and lies.  They are not chosen as panellists for their insight.

Question Time Thursday June 14th
For the June 14th show the bbcqt production team invited Isabel Oakeshott to be a panellist.  June 14th was the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.  Several commemorative events had taken place during the day including a silent march.  Last year Oakeshott said of the victims of the fire who had yet to be re-housed: “My position is that benefit claimants have no basic entitlement to state support to live in the most desirable areas of London.”  Prior to the show many people rightly objected to the timing of Oakeshott’s invitation to appear given these despicable comments.  Was the production team’s decision to invite her on that date deliberate?


A few days earlier an investigation by Carol Cadwalla had revealed that Oakeshott deliberately withheld evidence about the behaviour of tax-avoiding businessman Arron Banks related to the campaign to leave the EU.  Given the potential seriousness of the evidence suppression, it seems odd that the BBC felt Oakeshott was still a suitable guest. 

The BBC’s press office responded to concerns:


That terse response was a lie: On bbcqt Oakeshott was not questioned about the suppressed evidence and was not asked about her comments about the victims of the Grenfell fire.  She was invited onto the show because she had made controversial comments and because she is embroiled in a controversy about suppressed evidence, but she was allowed to dodge being questioned on these issues.  It was a production decision to invite a ratings grabbing guest while simultaneously providing an easy ride for said guest.

New low point for bbcqt
Oakeshott has nothing to offer on a current affairs show.  Weak knowledge, inept analysis, lies, misdirection and snide are the tools of her trade.  There would never be an intelligent reason for any TV or radio producer to ask her to appear on a serious show.  Like all professional trolls her crassendo operandi is provocation and controversy as entertainment.  The production team of bbcqt prefer performing seals as guests.  Toby Young, Isabel Oakeshott, Douglas Murray, Arron Banks, etc. are exactly the type of anti-intellect provocateur that is preferred.  This is a policy.  It is an insult to the viewers’ intelligence.

The timing of Oakeshott’s appearance was a cold insult to the victims of the Grenfell fire.  The desire for high ratings trumped empathy and intelligence.  A new low point for bbcqt.

Related blog: Tips for BBC news presenters and production staff

BBC Question Time Scrapes A Rancid Barrel

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