Any Questions? is a British topical discussion programme "in which a panel of personalities from the worlds of politics, media, and elsewhere are posed questions by the audience".[2]

Any Questions?
The panel during a recording of a 2016 episode in the Nexus Methodist Church, Bath
GenreTopical discussion[1]
Running time50 minutes
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Home stationBBC Radio 4
Hosted byCurrent:
Alex Forsyth (2022–)
Freddie Grisewood (1948–1967)
David Jacobs (1967–1984)
John Timpson (1984–1987)
Jonathan Dimbleby (1987–2019)
Chris Mason (2019–2022)
Original release12 October 1948 –
WebsiteAny Questions?

It is typically broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Fridays at 8 pm and repeated the following day at 1:10 pm. Any Questions? is also available on BBC Sounds.[3][4]

Origins and scheduling edit

Any Questions? was first broadcast in October 1948, beginning as a fortnightly programme on the West of England Home Service and was originally intended to run for six editions only. It became a weekly programme in September 1949, broadcast live in the West Region on Friday evenings with a national repeat transmission on the Home Service up to six days later.

This pattern changed in September 1950 when the live Friday broadcast was switched to the BBC Light Programme (BBC Radio 2 from October 1967), although the discussion still came from venues in the West of England and the programme continued to be repeated later on the Home Service (BBC Radio 4 from October 1967).

On 10 April 1970, the Friday broadcast moved to Radio 4, which has broadcast both the live and the recorded editions of Any Questions? ever since.[5]

Presenters edit

Any Questions? was chaired by Freddie Grisewood from 1948 to 1967, by David Jacobs from 1967 to 1984, by John Timpson from 1984 to 1987 and by Jonathan Dimbleby from 1987 to 2019.[6]

In March 2019, Dimbleby announced that he would "stand down... at the end of June". Shaun Ley, Ritula Shah, Ed Stourton and Julian Worricker served as interim moderators. In October 2019, Chris Mason was announced as Dimbleby's successor.[7][8][9] Following Mason's appointment as political editor of BBC News in 2022, it was announced that Alex Forsyth would succeed him as regular presenter from November 2022.[10]

Venues edit

Tables set up for a recording at Oxford University's Catholic chaplaincy

Any Questions? is broadcast from a different location each week.[11] Among others, Any Questions? has broadcast from educational institutions, performing arts venues, and religious and government buildings, including:

Notable editions edit

First edition edit

Any Questions? was first broadcast on 12 October 1948. The first edition was broadcast from the Guildhall in Winchester.[50]

Demonstrators edit

During a November 1976 edition broadcast from Basingstoke, "stone-throwing demonstrators" smashed windows. Politician Enoch Powell — known for the Rivers of Blood speech, in which he spoke about mass immigration — was on the panel, and demonstrators decided "to make their views heard".[51]

Prison edit

In September 1991, Any Questions? came from Norfolk's Wayland Prison. The audience was made up of prisoners, who had prison officers sitting beside them. After the programme finished, the prisoners—without their officers—"crowded around" presenter Jonathan Dimbleby. One "confronted" Dimbleby, saying: "I want to ask you something, because we're quite cross here." After Dimbleby felt a moment of "alarm", the prisoner continued: "Why do we only hear Test Match Special now on longwave?" Dimbleby had "no answer", but felt "very relieved".[52][53]

Stuck in traffic edit

In March 1993, Any Questions? broadcast during snowy weather. Then-Conservative Party chairman Norman Fowler was scheduled as a guest for that day; although he was stuck in traffic, he still managed to call on his mobile phone and take part in the discussion.

Presenter Jonathan Dimbleby went to Fowler first as "phone batteries used to run out very quickly". Fowler's first words were: "Good evening Jonathan, I find myself at something of a disadvantage here." Fellow panellist Jack Cunningham, then Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, replied: “Of course you are, you are in the Cabinet which is ruining the country!”[54][55]

60th anniversary edit

In October 2008, Any Questions? returned to Winchester for its 60th anniversary edition. On the panel, at the Henry Beaufort School, were: Labour MP Harriet Harman, historian and academic Peter Hennessy, Conservative politician Oliver Letwin, and Liberal Democrat Shirley Williams.[56][57]

2013 New York special edit

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the venue for the programme's 2013 New York special

In April 2013, Any Questions? presented a "special edition" from New York, "to mark the first 100 days of President Obama's second term". On the panel were: Democratic Member of Congress Donna Edwards, Reuters editor-at-large Harry Evans, Republican Member of Congress Nan Hayworth, and Democratic politician, former Attorney General and Governor of New York state Eliot Spitzer. This edition was broadcast from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.[58][59]

70th anniversary edit

In October 2018, Any Questions? held its 70th anniversary edition at the House of Commons. On the panel were: Conservative politician Tom Pursglove, Scottish Labour Party MP Danielle Rowley, online estate agent Akshay Ruparelia, Our Future Our Choice co-founder Lara Spirit, and Rizzle Kicks singer Jordan Stephens. The panel answered questions on climate change, mental health and social media, Brexit, and housing. The programme's panel and audience were aged 18 to 30.[60]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Any Questions? genre". BBC.
  2. ^ "Format".
  3. ^ "Broadcast times".
  4. ^ "Any Questions? available on BBC Sounds".
  5. ^ "Any Questions? first broadcast". BBC News. 9 September 2012.
  6. ^ "Former Any Questions? presenters". BBC News. 9 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Jonathan Dimbleby to step down from Any Questions?". BBC News. 4 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Episodes".
  9. ^ "BBC Brexitcaster to be new host of Radio 4's Any Questions?". BBC News. 9 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Alex Forsyth to host Any Questions? on Radio 4". BBC Mediacentre. 14 October 2022.
  11. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from a different location each week".
  12. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Ashlawn School". BBC.
  13. ^ "Any Questions? visits Birmingham Repertory Theatre". BBC.
  14. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Bishop Luffa School". BBC.
  15. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy". BBC.
  16. ^ "Any Questions? visits Bridlington Priory". BBC.
  17. ^ "Brockenhurst College hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  18. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Brooklands College". BBC.
  19. ^ "Ormiston Bushfield Academy hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  20. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Ceredigion Museum". BBC.
  21. ^ "Coventry Cathedral hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  22. ^ "Any Questions? visits Crickhowell High School". BBC.
  23. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Falmouth University". BBC.
  24. ^ "Giggleswick School hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  25. ^ "Any Questions? visits Hayesfield Girls' School". BBC.
  26. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Hoddinott Hall". BBC.
  27. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Lady Margaret School". BBC.
  28. ^ "Leeds Minster hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  29. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Leeds Trinity University". BBC.
  30. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Manchester Metropolitan University". BBC.
  31. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Middlesbrough Town Hall". BBC.
  32. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Oxford Town Hall". BBC.
  33. ^ "Sevenoaks School hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  34. ^ "Any Questions? visits Sheffield Cathedral". BBC.
  35. ^ "St John's Wood Church hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  36. ^ "Any Questions? visits the University of Aberdeen". BBC.
  37. ^ "Any Questions? visits the University of Chester". BBC.
  38. ^ "Any Questions? visits the University of East London". BBC.
  39. ^ "Any Questions? comes from the University of Glasgow". BBC.
  40. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from the University of Worcester". BBC.
  41. ^ "Valley Park School hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  42. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Wellington Church". BBC.
  43. ^ "Any Questions? visits Westminster Synagogue". BBC.
  44. ^ "Weston Museum hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  45. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Wheatley Park School". BBC.
  46. ^ Elgot, Jessica (21 May 2010). "BBC to host first synagogue 'Any Questions'". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  47. ^ "Winstanley College hosts Any Questions?". BBC.
  48. ^ "Any Questions? visits Worthing College". BBC.
  49. ^ "Any Questions? comes from Wyedean School". BBC.
  50. ^ "First edition of Any Questions?". BBC. 8 October 2013.
  51. ^ "Politician's visit led to radio show demo". Basingstoke Gazette. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  52. ^ "Any Questions? from Wayland Prison". BBC.
  53. ^ "Jonathan Dimbleby on presenting an edition of Any Questions? from a prison". BBC.
  54. ^ "Any Questions? edition featuring Jack Cunningham and Norman Fowler". BBC.
  55. ^ "Seven Surprising Moments from Any Questions?". BBC.
  56. ^ "BBC's Any Questions? 60th anniversary in Winchester". Hampshire Chronicle. 19 September 2008.
  57. ^ "Any Questions? 60th anniversary panel". BBC.
  58. ^ "Any Questions? from New York". BBC.
  59. ^ "Any Questions? broadcasts from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism". BBC.
  60. ^ "Any Questions? 70th anniversary". BBC.

External links edit