"Question Time" began broadcasting on a trial basis on September 25, 1979, and was billed as a TV version of Radio 4's "Any Questions?" It features politicians from the major political parties as well as other public figures answering questions on issues of the day put to them by members of a studio audience. Since the programme began, Robin Day (1979-89), Peter Sissons (1989-93) and David Dimbleby (1994-present) have chaired the debates. For a brief period in the mid-1990s, voting keypads were used to poll the audience, who are selected to provide a balanced cross-section of the nation. Audience figures hit a peak of 7.9 million on October 29, 2009, when Nick Griffin of the BNP joined the panel. Under Robin Day, the programme was almost always made in London, but is now recorded from a different location in the UK each week. "Question Time" is unique in that politicians are grilled on a regular basis by members of the public, something that rarely happens with politicians in the US. Each year, 30,000 members of the public apply to join debates by being in the studio audience. The programme takes breaks for Christmas and Easter and ends each July prior to returning in the early autumn, coinciding with the conference season.