Question Time “Paranoid” at Unpredictable Audience Tonight

The Question Time audience is often derided for being out of touch with mainstream public opinion and clapping contradictory arguments, but sometimes they cross the line. Back in 2001, just four days after the attacks on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers, the BBC was hit by one mighty PR disaster when their carefully selected, and oh so balanced, audience almost reduced a former US Ambassador to tears by repeatedly blaming America for the attacks, while the ruins were still smouldering. Director General Greg Dyke said at the time:

“…despite the best efforts of David Dimbleby and the panel, there were times in the programme when the tone was not appropriate, given the terrible events of this week. I have today spoken to Phillip Lader, the former US Ambassador to the UK who was on the panel, and apologised for any distress the programme may have caused him.”

Well we are ten years on and Guido hears that the BBC’s paranoia around tonight’s anniversary episode is intense. Producers are said to be particularly worried about the audience reaction to Reagan and Bush defence advisor, and the spiritual godfather of neo-conservatism, Richard Perle. Insiders say the audience has been “softened”. The programme’s production-company Mentorn declined to comment when Guido put it to them that there had been a significant re-jigging of audience members today…

The BBC press office are looking into the matter…

UPDATE Friday 09:00: The BBC got in touch over night to say usual practice applied to audience selection last night.


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“CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS “CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS
CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL
CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
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CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE
TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY
CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE
OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES
TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA
ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN
STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION
NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE
CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN
SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY
SADIQ RAISES EU FLAG ABOVE CITY HALL SADIQ RAISES EU FLAG ABOVE CITY HALL
SAJ ‘PRIVATELY SAID HE WANTED TO LEAVE’ SAJ ‘PRIVATELY SAID HE WANTED TO LEAVE’
CRICK CRICK’D CRICK CRICK’D
EU WANTS CULTURAL QUOTAS ON NETFLIX AND AMAZON PRIME EU WANTS CULTURAL QUOTAS ON NETFLIX AND AMAZON PRIME
LIBDEM WHO COMPLAINED TO POLICE ABOUT TORY ELECTION FRAUD BROKE SPENDING RULES LIBDEM WHO COMPLAINED TO POLICE ABOUT TORY ELECTION FRAUD BROKE SPENDING RULES
LABOUR WON’T ALLOW CONFERENCE DELEGATES TO SELF-IDENTIFY LABOUR WON’T ALLOW CONFERENCE DELEGATES TO SELF-IDENTIFY
WORST BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND EVER WORST BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND EVER
CELEBRITY CONSUMER CHAMPION HITS BACK AT BSE CELEBRITY CONSUMER CHAMPION HITS BACK AT BSE
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SUPREME COURT FINDS IN FAVOUR OF PJS SUPREME COURT FINDS IN FAVOUR OF PJS