Debate Night is BBC’s new Scottish version of Question Time and so far it’s proving to be more nuanced, more balanced, with more listening and less interrupting. An example of how even BBC might do things differently in an independent Scotland? Fancy taking part? Got opinions to share? Here’s how…
Join the Debate Night Audience
It does seem ridiculous that BBC hasn’t given them a budget to record the programme in far flung Scottish places, like Fife or Dumfries for instance 😂 🤣. And don’t they want to hear from Scots in Orkney, Shetland, Hebrides?
Nevertheless, here’s what a recent participant says about their experience. They obviously enjoyed themselves. (Thanks to Yes Marchmont and Morningside for all this info)
BBC Scotland Debate Night
- Due to the fact that they don’t have a budget to travel around Scotland, the new BBC Debate Night is struggling for audience members particularly females (and probably viewers) but this is a great way to get some experience of such programmes prior to any independence referendum debates.
- You are asked your voting record at Scottish Parliament Election, General Election, IndyRef1 and BrexitRef. You are asked if you are a member of a political party, if you are an activist, do you hold any paid or unpaid positions in the party structure. I said I delivered leaflets and was a member. They were happy with that. You can select which week you are interested in. I had a choice of 2 weeks, I chose 6thMarch.
- Notification of Acceptance You will receive a phone call in the week prior to the show to tell you, you will be in the audience. I received my call on the Monday evening before the show. They then confirm with you that you are not a paid member of the party and your involvement is only delivering leaflets.
- Photo ID required on the day of the show I was shocked to receive an email telling me I require Photo ID to appear in the show. I offered them my work pass ID, they refused, so I had to drive home at lunch time to get my passport and driving licence, just in case they refused one of these forms of ID.. The email also said no logo or emblems on your clothing.
- Your Questions Questions are 20 words max. You are invited to send two by email. On the night you are again invited to supply additional topical questions. I phoned the BBC on the day to find out the list of panellists on number 03700 100222. Chose selection 2 then 2 again to speak to an operative. The non-politicians on the show are there for a reason and there will be a question on a topic of interest to them. This week it was Brexit and charities.
- The Night You are asked to be at the show venue by 6pm and you will not leave before 9pm. If required use the Postcode of EH14 1DI After registering by showing your photo ID, there is a security search using a hand-held device. Similar to an airport. You then enter a seated room with tea and coffee available and toilets are nearby. This time can be used to write topical questions on the cards provided. The audience is then invited into the auditorium. To test the camera angles and sound a series of test are performed. Audience members are asked if they are opinionated and 5 are selected to come and sit on the chairs of the panellists and have microphones attached and a pretend question is asked, each “panellist” and the audience are asked to have a discussion.
- The audience members who were lucky enough to be selected to ask questions are then identified and positioned in distributed places in the audience. The true panellists then arrive and the show begins with the first question. I put up my hand up early in the first question and was selected to make a comment. I tried to keep my hand up throughout the show but the arm does get sore.
- You should have a comment handy for each question. Bring a pen and paper into the show and write down points that come to mind as the questions unfold. Do not be afraid to vocalise to show agreement or disagreement with any points made. Liz Smith Tory MSP said we voted for Brexit and more than half the audience shouted her down by saying “no we didn’t”. This came across well on TV.
- Stephen Jardine the host is great.