First broadcast in 1948, BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? has been touring the country for over sixty years at the invitation of local organisations, and it was our turn to host the well-known political programme in the Richard Whiteley Theatre on Friday 10 March.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron MP, Former BBC Economics Editor and now Chief Market Strategist for JP Morgan, Stephanie Flanders, and Director ofJ&J Denholmand Secure Trust Bank, Lord Forsyth, who has previously served as Secretary of State for Scotland made up the panel. The programme was hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby, who has chaired the programme for over 30 years. It is a stringent and unchanging rule of Any Questions? that the panel never sees the challenging, topical questions in advance. The four panelists hear them for the first time live on air, watched on this occasion by a local audience, while being broadcast to over 1.6 million radio listeners worldwide.
Broadcast two days after the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, topics ranged from funding for schools, to Brexit. There were a number of compliments made about the School and the surrounding area during the broadcast with the School’s setting on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park inspiring a question about which was the best national park in the country. Tim Farron said he couldn’t choose between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales as he represents both, and Debbie Abrahams said she wished she had visited the area in daylight.
Tickets to be in the audience sold out in less than 15 minutes, a record for the Richard Whiteley Theatre.
Mark Turnbull, Headmaster said "It’s more important than ever for everyone of all ages to engage in politics and the evening was very insightful. We were very proud to host such an important event for the local and regional community and it was fantastic to welcome so many local people to the school and our theatre."
We have had a number of people asking what Anna Wood, Assistant Head (Academic) was going to ask before time ran out. Miss Wood’s question, which got down to the final ten out of everyone in the audience, was “An American university recently banned a far right speaker from giving a speech to students. To what extent should we protect young people from hearing unpalatable and upsetting views?”
House Matron of Style, Leonie Darch, asked “Were headmasters setting a good example by heckling the Education Secretary?” This question was also shortlisted and was aired live.
Listen to the programme again here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08h0g4w#play