Whether you’ve made up your mind about the general election, or you’re still swaying in the political wind, here are the TV programmes that could help you navigate the muddy waters of May 7th (if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors…)
When? Tuesdays to Fridays at 9:15am on BBC2
What? The presenter has given up her slot on Radio 5 Live for a daytime current affairs programme which will focus on the month-long build up to the general election. One aim is to attract a younger audience to political events, especially women. The show will be simulcast on the BBC News channel so office workers can watch, as can those at home. Expect reports from crews around the country, exclusive interviews and lively debates with the studio audience, too.
Spotlight: Nick Clegg
When? Thursday 9th April at 7:30pm on ITV
What? Tom Bradby spends time with the Deputy Prime Minister at Downing Street, examining his journey to the heart of government and what that may have cost him. Bradby also visits the Clegg family home and talks to the Lib Dem leader’s wife Miriam González Durántez , as well as his friends, about his political career. If Cameron’s Spotlight (available here on ITV Player) is anything to go by, it’ll be an interesting look at the human side of Clegg.
The leader interviews: Nick Clegg
When? Monday 13th April at 7:30pm on BBC1
What? After five years of working in a coalition government with the Conservatives – during which time party policy has often had to played second fiddle to political reality – the Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader discusses his party’s election manifesto with Evan Davis at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Since Davis is an economist, expect some grilling on Clegg’s visions for Britain’s monetary future…
Jack Dee’s Election Helpdesk
When? Monday 13th April at 10:00pm on BBC2
What? If you’re after a bit of election humour, this could be the one to watch. The famously misanthropic comedian will help a live studio audience dispel their election problems and aims to shed light on their dilemmas and issues relating to the General Election. It’s bound to be wonderfully chaotic as nothing is written or prepared beforehand and the panel don’t know what the questions from the audience will be. The first guests are Romesh Ranganathan, Claudia Winkleman, Aisling Bea and Jeremy Hardy.
The leader interviews: David Cameron
When? Wednesday 15th April at 7:30pm on BBC1
What? There are, we’re told, quite a few on the right wing of the Conservative party who believe a Labour government would be a price worth paying to get rid of Cameron. They still haven’t forgiven their leader for not winning a majority against Gordon Brown last time and forcing the party into coalition; not to win outright in May would send them into purple-faced fury. But Evan Davis is more likely to land a punch on the PM on the subject of his much-touted ‘long term economic plan’.
BBC Election Debate
When? Thursday 16th April 8pm on BBC1
What? There are no Liberal Democrats or Conservatives in this debate, as Cameron has already done the one head-to-head he agreed to (for ITV) and Clegg is also out the running. So this is instead ‘the challenger’ debate in which David Dimbleby takes questions from the studio audience for the five party leaders: Labour’s Ed Miliband, Plaid Cymru’s Leanne wood, SNP lead Nicola Sturgeon, the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett, and Nigel Farage of Ukip.
BBC Election Debate: The Reaction
When? Thursday 16th April at 9:30pm on BBC1
What? Immediately after the opposition leaders’ debate, Emily Maitlis and John Pienaar will present a reaction to what’s been said, live from Westminster Central Hall. It’ll be a good way to find out the key talking points from the debate and see interviews with senior figures from the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.
The Last Leg
When? Thursday 23rd April at 10pm on Channel 4
What? After presenter Alex Brooker fired the starting gun in the race to rid political campaigning of “bulls**t” during his genuinely brilliant interview with Nick Clegg, he’s back with comedians Josh Widdicombe and Adam Hills for three election-themed episodes of the anarchic, topical comedy show. The team will interview politicians, focus on the build-up to the election, and cover the talking points.
Joey Essex: Election special
When? TBC on ITV2
What? The former TOWIE star may not possess the most authoritative political voice, but this could be an entertainingly low-brow take on the struggle for power as he questions Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage and David Cameron for an ITV2 special.
Question Time: Special Election Edition
When? Thursday 30th April on BBC1
What? A week before polling day, BBC1 will show a special edition of Question Time in which Cameron, Miliband and Clegg will each appear separately to answer questions from a studio audience.
A new comedy about the political struggle for Number 10, starring Ben Miller, Hugh Dennis and Sarah Hadland. The satire, expected to air at the beginning of May, will cut between the various (fictional) campaign buses of the four main parties – Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP. On each bus sit a rich collection of characters including press officers, line managers, empathy consultants, SPADs, IT wizards, social media monitors, political analysts, interns and even bus drivers. The writers will respond to the latest political development or crisis, which Channel 4 hopes will bring a freshness and immediacy to the show. So essentially, it’s a bonkers, real-time satirical sitcom…
There’ll be more election shows over the following weeks so watch this space for updates…