BBC’s iconic talk programme to be broadcast from local school

Sean Holden

One of the BBC’s most popular radio programmes will be broadcast live from a school in Tunbridge Wells this Friday and members of the public are invited to attend.

Radio 4’s Any Questions? visits a different part of the country each week with a panel of four leading figures who answer questions from the audience.

This time the flagship programme, which attracts a listening audience of 1.5million, will be broadcast from Bennett Memorial Diocesan School.

Presented by Jonathan Dimbleby, it is thought that the panel will consist of Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and Mick Cash, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union.

Any Questions? was first broadcast in October 1948 and has been hosted by Mr Dimbleby since 1987.

Bennett contacted the Any Questions? team in 2012, when it was celebrating its Diamond Jubilee, to offer the school as a possible venue for the programme.

“At the time they thanked us and informed us they would be in touch. Towards the end of 2015, three years later, they asked us if we would be interested in hosting on April 22. The answer was a most definitive ‘yes!'” said Deputy Head Teacher Richard Tyson.

The production team then work very hard in the half hour before the programme starts to finalise which questions will be asked.

“We have not yet received final confirmation of who is on the panel but the BBC producer informs us that the panel looks set to include some high profile politicians.”

What does he think the students will gain from such an experience?

“A lot – we are aiming to involve them as much as possible. The opportunity to meet with and question politicians in such an environment is relatively rare.

“Hosting the event in the school will give our students new insights and knowledge about major current affairs.”

Parents and students have been invited to express an interest in attending – there are 300 tickets available.

“Some pupils will also be involved in welcoming members of the panel to the school and talking to them before and after the programme. Others will be given a tour of the outside broadcast van.

“Members of the general public are very welcome to attend. If any reader would like a ticket they should contact our school reception at the soonest opportunity.”

If you are interested in attending Radio 4’s Any Questions? at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School on April 22 please call 01892 521595.  Members of the audience will need to arrive by 7.15pm. The minimum age for audience members is 14.

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