Could tonight’s Question Time be the best ever? Delighted gasps echoed around Twitter when the line-up dropped: Russell Brand, Melanie Phillips and Boris Johnson! All together! Plus, probably some politicians.
Brand has emerged as a bit of a political commentator in recent months, writing celebrated pieces about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy and the Woolwich murder. He definitely knows how to work a crowd. And, in BoJo and the forthright columnist sometimes unkindly referred to as “Mad Mel”, he’ll have plenty to work with. Could he be the most memorable stunt-celeb guest ever? Here’s the competition…
Hugh Grant (2011) Huge hasn’t always been a level-headed advocate for harder press regulation but here, at the absolute apex of the phone-hacking scandal, he was the perfect booking. Watch as he laconically sticks it to the entire panel.
Carol Vorderman (2010) Often the celebrity panellist provides a softer take on the issues of the day. A sideways look. A humorous anecdote. Not the former Countdown character-wrangler! Feel the freeze as she peers over those specs.
Brian Cox (2010) Regular QT panto villain David Starkey got more than he bargained for when he was on the show with Coxy – the Scottish actor, not the gorgeous physicist. Cox’s mixture of very plain speaking and disarmingly wafty thespian put-downs was tough to combat.
Will Young (2012) He’s not the most fluent or flamboyant orator, but the former Pop Idol winner won a lot of new fans with his heartfelt, quietly furious speech about gay marriage and homophobia.
Charlotte Church (2012) Phone hacking again: when an audience member suffering from a sympathy shortage says celebs should have just sucked it up, Charl slaps her down. Admittedly the woman in the crowd isn’t moved, but if Question Time changed anything, they’d make it illegal, man.
Jarvis Cocker (2009) The Pulp singer’s appearance generally was a textbook example of a rambling, wise-cracking celeb intervention where great insights were in short supply. Good stuff here though on one of his specialist subjects: Michael Jackson.
Steve Coogan (2012) Luxuriously barneted, the Coog has his say on Abu Qatada and military intervention in overseas crises – but of course it’s press regulation where he really scores. He’s angry.
John Lydon (2012) “People make bad mistakes because they don’t have the infooooormayyyyshunnnn.” With luck, Brand and Johnson will be seated next to each other in an attempt to top this edition. Johnny Rotten v Louise Mensch – ON DRUGS! As in, they’re talking about drugs.