Any Questions?


Any Questions?

Infobox Radio Show
show_name = Any Questions?
format = topical debate radio
runtime = 50 minutes
country = United Kingdom
language = English
home_station = BBC Light Programme
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 4
starring = Freddie Grisewood (1948 to 1967)
David Jacobs (1967 to 1983)
John Timpson (1983 to 1987)
Jonathan Dimbleby (1983 - present)
first_aired = 12 October, 1948
last_aired = "Present"
website = [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/anyquestions.shtml Radio 4]

"Any Questions?" [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/anyquestions.shtml] is a topical debate radio programme in the United Kingdom. It is broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on Friday evenings and repeated on Saturday afternoons, when it is followed by a phone-in response programme, "Any Answers?". It typically features a panel with four members drawn from politicians from the three major UK political parties and other public figures who answer questions put to them by the audience, who are drawn from the locality being visited. The neutral chairman is currently Jonathan Dimbleby. When the programme visits Scotland and Wales, representatives from the Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru participate, as do the Northern Irish parties when Northern Ireland is visited. The panel members are not notified of the questions before the programme, although questions usually cover topical political questions. It inspired the television version, "Question Time", chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby's older brother, David Dimbleby.

Originated by former war correspondent and later Managing Director of BBC Radio Frank Gillard, "Any Questions?" was first broadcast from Winchester on 12 October, 1948 as a programme on the Home Service in the West of England. It has been broadcast nationally since 1950, although for many years it still came exclusively from venues in the West Country. It was initially broadcast nationally on the BBC Light Programme and BBC Radio 2 (even being simulcast on BBC Radio 1 from October 6, 1967 to April 3, 1970). However, in this era it was repeated on the Home Service and later Radio 4. The programme has gone out exclusively on Radio 4 since April 10, 1970. On October 11, 2008, a programme was broadcast from Winchester marking the sixtieth anniversary of the programme. The panel were Shirley Williams, Oliver Letwin, Harriet Harman and Peter Hennessy. The programme ended with a question asking whether Winchester should again be the capital of England.

It has had four permanent chairmen in its history:
*Freddie Grisewood from 1948 to December 1967,
*David Jacobs from December 1967 to July 1983,
*John Timpson from July 1983 to July 1987,
*Jonathan Dimbleby from July 1987; on the occasions when he can't chair the programme, others have substituted, most recently the late Nick Clarke, and now Eddie Mair.

Many popular figures have appeared on the programme more than once: the record for appearances is held by Tony Benn, who first appeared as a panel member in March 1951 and has contributed to over 80 programmes.

When the programme was first broadcast there was a rule that no questions could be asked on topics that had been discussed in the Houses of Parliament during the last two weeks. This rule created considerable consternation to the panellists on a programme during the Suez war. Over time the rule was relaxed and eventually dropped.


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