There’s a debate between Ed Miliband and David Cameron tonight?
What? Then what is this Cameron & Miliband: The Battle For Number 10 that Sky News and Channel 4 have been promoting non-stop?
It’s more duelling interviews than a debate. After protracted dealings between politicians and broadcasters, the Prime Minister declined to take part in a head to head discussion with the leader of the opposition. Instead they will take turns being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman. Kind of like a rap battle, but it won’t rhyme (we presume).
How will it work?
Well, Ed Miliband won the coin toss…
There was a coin toss?
Yes, and Ed Miliband won it. He chose to go second, giving him a chance to respond to Cameron’s points, but letting the PM make the first salvo. The timeline goes as follows:
Jeremy Paxman interviews David Cameron (18 minutes)
Audience Q&A with Cameron, chaired by Kay Burley (18 minutes)
Audience Q&A with Ed Miliband (18 minutes)
Jeremy Paxman interviews Ed Miliband (18 minutes)
When and where can I watch it?
Channel 4 and Sky News will both show the debate at 9pm, with Sky following up with live reports from the backstage ‘spin room’ afterwards.
Sky’s Kay Burley I understand, but isn’t Paxman a BBC man?
Not since he left Newsnight last year. There is some griping online that Paxman announced he was a “one nation Tory,” but this isn’t a man who tends to let politicians off the hook.
Who is in the audience?
Pollsters Survation selected 100 members of the public: one third intend on voting Conservative, one third Labour and one third haven’t made up their mind. RadioTimes.com understands the demographic make-up of the audience was decided in discussions between the politicians and broadcasters.
Can I play along at home?
Yes, using the absurdly long hashtag #BattleforNumber10. That gives you 122 characters to rabble rouse.
Where is Nigel Farage?
Not here. He is appearing, along with six other political leaders, in the massive cluster-debate taking place next week on ITV. There’s then another debate on the BBC on 16th April, featuring five opposition leaders but not Cameron or Clegg. This is less an election than a game of musical chairs.
Where is Russell Brand?
Wherever a voice calls out in need of a hero, Russell Brand will be there. But he’s not on Sky News or Channel 4 this evening.