North American networks can learn from BBC

Two weeks after watching the excellent “Question Time Leaders Special”, I was once again delighted when the “Prime Ministerial Debate” also aired on domestic and world services of the BBC on Dec. 6.

It dramatically demonstrated how efficient and superior Auntie Beeb is in producing political television, when compared to her counterparts in Canada and U.S. Apparently, this was the very first time that only two British Party Leaders debated each other on live television, to the exclusion of the smaller parties who have no chance of winning the UK election on Dec. 12.

The two front-runners met head-to-head, mano-a-mano in the BBC studio auditorium. The moderator was Nick Robinson, who took no nonsense from either party leader, and the questions came from an audience of 100 selected by pollsters, with equal representation from Conservative, Labour and undecided voters.

The debate lasted for an hour, was serious with very few personal attacks, and only one brief chuckle when the question was asked about what politicians should have to do when they are caught lying.

To help viewers there was a fact-checking panel appearing at the side of the television screen, indicating in real-time when either of the debaters strayed from the truth. A 30-minute introduction explained everything in detail before the debate.

A 30-minute spin room segment following the debate had representatives from the Conservative, Labour, Brexit, Green, Plaid Cymru (Welsh), Liberal-Democrat and Scottish National Parties. All received equal opportunities to give their summation of the debate, and voice their preferences for or against its participants.

I’ve recently witnessed shambolic amateur hour political television such as the diabolical debate debacle in Ottawa during our recent Canadian elections, and the circus continuing to go around and around in Washington with impeachment hearings.

There’s no doubt the BBC is in a league of its own in this genre, and should package these two most recent programs as a teaching tool for television networks in Canada, the U.S. and beyond.

Bernie Smith

Parksville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach Farmers Market to re-open on Saturday, April 4

Only fresh, frozen, prepared items to be sold

COVID-19: Nanoose Bay woman celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so friends got creative

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by Qualicum Beach musician Phil Dwyer

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Suspect with pellet gun draws serious police response in downtown Nanaimo

Officers respond with guns drawn at Port Place shopping centre

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

COVID-19 PQB business update: looking for takeout food?

Email messages to editor@pqbnews.com

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

Most Read