Friday 26 October 2018

For Old Time's Sake

Jonty Dimbles

It's been a long while since I've listened to Any Questions (at least without switching off within minutes)

I first listened to it in the days of gentle John Timpson, but have got ever less inclined to listen to it during the eternity, boundless and bare, that Jonathan Dimbleby has been presenting it. 

Tonight, for the first time in years, I decided to listen to it in its entirety.

Why? Well, I wanted to test a hunch.... 

I'd seen that UKIP leader Gerard Batten was on and wanted to see if Jonathan treated him considerably worse than he treated his three other guests (Labour's Caroline Flint, Conservative Anna Soubry and the GMB's Tim Roache).

And, just as I expected, yes, he did. 

Much worse.

I counted 'unhelpful', 'helpful' and 'neutral/undecidable' interventions from Jonathan, and found: 
2 'helpful', 1 'unhelpful' for Anna Soubry
1 'neutral' and two 'unhelpful' for Tim Roache
1 'helpful', 1 'neutral' and 1 'unhelpful' for Caroline Flint
1 'neutral' and 4 'unhelpful' for Gerard Batten 
And the 'unhelpful' interventions from the Any Questions host to UKIP's Mr Batten were several degrees of 'unhelpfulness' more 'unhelpful' than the 'unhelpful' interventions to the other three guests. 

Indeed, I'd re-label them 'hostile' rather than 'unhelpful'.

BBC presenter bias proved. QED. Onwards and upwards. 

And the Middlesbrough audience was fascinating too. With the Brexit vote going 65.5% to 34.5% in favour of Leave the audience would be expected to be heavily pro-Brexit, and Anna Soubry was duly heckled. But the applause she then got for her anti-Brexit rhetoric, despite that heckling, was strikingly loud - and much louder than that given to any of the three less-anti-Brexit panellists. Peculiar.

And the anti-Gerard Batten, anti-Tommy Robinson contingent in the audience was extremely vocal. With a highly hostile contingent in the audience against him, his three fellow panellists reviling him and BBC presenter Jonathan Dimbleby bating him with considerably more 'hostile' interventions than he put to the others, UKIP's Mr Batten is highly unlikely to have come away from tonight's proceedings with an improved view of the BBC or a changed view on the question of BBC bias.

Please listen for yourselves here (if you can bear it) and see if you want to persuade Gerard to think otherwise.


  1. I didn't listen but I'm not surprised that GB was so horribly targeted by the Dimbleby clone.

    Did he respond in kind? I hope so.

    1. He didn't give JD as good as he got, but he had three others piling in on him (including the very hostile union leader) and didn't buckle.

  2. Do we know if audiences at progs like QT & AQ are seated in blocks according to their stated political leanings when they apply for a ticket? If they are it would be very easy to turn the volume up when the anti-Brexit lobby is applauding & vice versa. I have suspected this was happening on QT on several occasions. If that sounds far-fetched, remember all the times the sound broke up when Farage was giving a would-be sound-bite in the run-up to the Referendum?

    1. You don't apply for tickets for Any Questions? The audience is whoever turns up. Question Time is different.

    2. Thanks for info. Question still valid re: QT.


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