The Debate of Our Times

The Debate of Our Times


What better contributor to this programme on how political debate has changed over the decades that the BBC has been covering it than Tony Benn. He is the longest-serving panellist on Any Questions?, having first appeared on the programme in 1951 and, undeterred, he came back to answer audience questions more than 80 times after that.

Current host Jonathan Dimbleby (radio fans will know that the programme is sometimes chaired by RT’s own Eddie Mair) discusses his best and worst moments, how difficult it can be to rein in unruly guests without losing control and whether the people have lost all faith in their public servants.

It’s the one open space we have to tackle them, after all — so long may Any Questions? remain!


Giles Dilnot looks back over five decades of Radio 4's Any Questions? to assess whether political debate programmes have become more simplistic in modern times. He asks if the switch to a coalition government has made the process of discussion more complicated, and highlights changes made to other politically oriented programmes over the years. Includes contributions by broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby and former MP Tony Benn.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Giles Dilnot
Contributor Jonathan Dimbleby
Contributor Tony Benn
Producer Kirsten Lass