Ragtag Tuesday: Any Questions?

I was brought up on Any Questions, a topical radio debate programme which has been a firm part of the BBC Radio 4 schedules on Friday evenings for getting on for 70 years.  Our family always listened when I was younger, but I don’t these days as it does terrible things to my blood pressure when right-wing Daily Mail readers take to the podium.

All the same.  It was coming to Masham, the town-next-door.  A loose cohort of us got free tickets.  That’s not quite true.  Malcolm and I didn’t, but meeting in the pub beforehand, we started to feel left out, and managed to snaffle two late-returns.

Getting ready for the action in Masham Town Hall.

You have to turn up easily an hour ahead of transmission. If you want to, you write a question which might get included. You have to be warmed up.  Radio Leeds presenter Andrew Edwards schooled us in the gentle art of clapping, cheering and booing to make our views clear to the listening audience (‘No heckling please’).  The lucky questioners were announced.  Two of our team made the cut, though in the end, only passionate 17-year-old ‘It’s our future’ Charlie had her question dealt with on air. I made the nearly-got-included list.

It was all fascinating stuff.  Star of the show was probably the CEO of Siemens UK, Jurgen Maier: measured, lively and likeable.  A Remainer, but desperate for business certainty, he’d back the current Brexit deal.  Leaver Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse Minister, actually said  ‘I don’t think any of us knew what we were going to get when we voted Leave….’, but nevertheless isn’t in favour of a People’s Vote on the Final Deal which Lord Adonis is campaigning for.  There was Labour’s Shadow Brexit Minister, Jenny Chapman  and the other MP was John Redwood (‘fervent Brexiteer’).  He really is from the Dark Side.  Uncivil, dogmatic, he didn’t attract much enthusiasm even from those who subscribe to his reactionary, long-held views in favour of Leave.

Charlie needed her selfie with Andrew Adonis.

If you want a flavour of the debate, you can listen here if you’re eligible to listen to BBC transmissions.

And the next day, we went back to Remoaning in Harrogate again…

A pavement poll on the People’s Vote.

Today’s Ragtag Challenge is ‘Broadcast’.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

25 thoughts on “Ragtag Tuesday: Any Questions?”

  1. That’s really interesting. I used to be a ‘never miss Question Time’ person, but now am the complete opposite and have to switch off quickly. Is the whole programme organised and run by BBC staff, even the audience selection process, or have parts been outsourced? I see your comments support the nickname of the Vulcan for Redwood. I am constantly wringing my hands these days and still can’t believe people like him have brought our country to this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I never do/did ‘Question Time’ either. Yup, it’s fully BBC, from the big pantechnicon thingie outside the Town Hall, to the producer and gophers. Redwood, well, words fail me… at least on a public platform such as this 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I suppose every country must have one. Has yours turned into a talk-shop for the right – at least in ‘Any Answers’, which is when listeners get the right of reply?

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      1. Our program is produced by the equivalent of the BBC (the ABC). They are constantly being accused by conservative governments of having a left-wing bias, so the panel and the audience is selected to reflect a variety of views. I like to watch just to get exposure to how other people think and am constantly amazed by the lunacy that comes out of the mouths of some of those right wingers. I am most concerned by the large cohort of privileged young white men educated at exclusive private schools with views coming straight out of the 1950s that are entering parliament.

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  2. Good to read your account of this programme – which we listen to regularly in Paris – and to see the result of the Harrogate poll. The fall out from a second referendum could be dreadful, whichever way it went, but I’m convinced now that is the way forward. I finally got round to writing to my (Berwick) MP (Anne-Marie Trevelyan) asking her to support the People’s Vote. Not much hope there but I’m starting to believe that anything is possible!

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    1. I mood swing from rolling my sleeves up and campaigning optimistically (and a letter-a-day-keeps-Brexit-away) and utter despair. Harrogate is always a good place to be, as Remainers out-number leavers in a largely Leave county. But we still get some stick. Last week, for instance, I was made to understand that there has been peace in Europe all these years not because of the European project, but because Germany is afraid of Bomber Command…..

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  3. I never listen to call-in shows or read the letters to the editor in the paper–as you say, my blood pressure goes off the charts at the sheer idiocy (to my way of thinking) of the hard-liner, redneck, Trump-lovers and misanthropes of the world. But I do think it’s interesting to have seen the inner workings of a broadcast. Did anything that as said change your thinking in the least?


    1. Well, we were lucky in that like-minded people were in the majority in the audience, and as it happens, on the panel. We didn’t listen to the listeners’-right-of-reply, ‘Any Answers’. That brings the reactionaries out of the woodwork.


  4. I have never been able to cope with Any Questions, Any Answers, Question Time etc. as, no matter what the topic, I begin to feel panic and anger and have to switch off. I avoid all political debate programmes if I possibly can. Cowardly, I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not at all, Clare. Any Questions et al are the way to get thoroughly upset with life. I tend to avoid a lot of radio/ TV news coverage at the moment, but I do read a lot, as I feel more in control.

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