A group of first and second year Politics students from Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College (QE), Darlington, have travelled to the Witham Centre in Barnard Castle to take part in BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions?’. The show, which first aired in 1948, is the radio station’s flagship current affairs programme and features a panel of personalities being posed questions by a live audience. The panel for the Barnard Castle broadcast was made up of Conservative Business Minister Lord Callanan, Labour Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Baroness Chapman, crossbench peer and Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson and GB News presenter Tonia Buxton.

From an audience of 160, student Eleanor Westlake was one of only six people chosen to ask the panel questions. She asked ‘Does the panel think that if an organisation is failing, you have to change the leader to make real change?’ which prompted a large reaction from the packed audience. While some panellists spoke about the resignation of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, Baronesses Chapman and Thompson discussed the position of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The panel also considered topics which have been covered in recent Politics lessons providing the students with a fantastic opportunity to reinforce their knowledge. As the recording came to an end, the group were able to chat with the presenter of the programme, Chris Mason, who enthused them with tips on how to break into political journalism on the radio.

Student, Ceira Moore-Atkinson, explains: ‘There was a real tension in the audience and I was surprised by some of the reactions to questions about COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions’. Jess Fairley adds: ‘It was great to meet Chris and share his passion for politics. He encouraged us all to think about pursuing a career like his’.

BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions?’ is available to listen to on the BBC Sounds app.