Question Time


Page last updated at 23:16 GMT, Thursday, 8 June 2006 00:16 UK

Question Time panellist challenge

The team of student producers with David Dimbleby
Could you be the panellist the team is looking for?

If you are 18-25 and want to go head to head with the politicians on Question Time, today is the deadline to apply.

BBC One's flagship political programme has a place on its panel for a well-informed, articulate young person, passionate about what matters today.

It is the first time Question Time has invited members of the public to apply.

The idea comes from a team of students who won this year's Schools Question Time Challenge and are helping make an edition of the programme on 6 July.

As well as being aged 18-25, applicants must send a mobile phone video clip explaining why they want to be on Question Time.

One of the student producers, 18-year-old Geraint Faulkner from Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn in Carmarthenshire said: "We wanted to find an original way of making sure that young people's voices were represented not only in the audience but on the panel.

"If you find yourself shouting at the TV on Thursday nights, then put your money where your mouth is and join us."

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Couchman from Wolverhampton Girls School added: "We want a young person on the panel to demonstrate that we are politically minded, and we have views and opinions on all kinds of issues - and most of them are a lot more original than those of politicians!"

Geraint and Hannah are two of the eight student winners of the Schools Question Time Challenge, an annual competition now in its third year.

Thursday, 6 July, 2006
22:35 BST

The challenge which is supported by the BBC, the Institute for Citizenship and BT involves schools staging their own debates based upon the popular BBC One Question Time theme.

David Dimbleby said: "People who follow Question Time often wonder why a member of the public can't be on the panel as well as high profile public figures.

"For Schools Question Time, the winning student producers have decided one seat on the panel should go to a young person chosen after a competition.

"I think its a great idea and we'll be auditioning just before the programme."

While members of the public have made their mark from the floor throughout the programme's 27 year history, they have never had an opportunity to be on the panel.

It is a really ambitious idea says the programme's Executive Editor, Ric Bailey. "Viewers might not appreciate just how difficult and intimidating it can be to sit on the Question Time panel, even for senior Cabinet Ministers!

"The aim of the students is to see if they can find an outstanding individual who is up to that challenge - if they discover the right person, then stardom beckons!"

Entry to the competition is open until Friday 9 June. The Schools Question Time programme will be broadcast on Thursday 6 July at the usual time, 10.35pm on BBC One.

How to apply

If you would like to apply to be the "students' choice" panellist, please send an e-mail to, marking the subject field "Schools Question Time" and containing the following:

  1. Video clip

    Please attach a video clip to your e-mail, explaining why you want to be on Question Time. Please also state your name, your age and where you live. The video can be shot on a mobile phone and should be no more than one minute (maximum file size 10 megabytes). The video will help us assess how informed and articulate you are as well as how you might come across on camera during the programme.

  2. Please include the following information in the e-mail

    • Name
    • Full address and postcode
    • Contact numbers for the week commencing Monday 12 June
    • E-mail address
    • Date of birth (you must be aged 18-25)
    • Confirm you are available from Wednesday 5 July to Thursday 6 July
    • If there were a general election tomorrow, which political party would you be most likely to vote for?
    • Are you a member of a political party? If so, which?
    • Which of these groups do you consider yourself to belong to: White / African-Caribbean / Indian / Pakistani / Chinese / African / Mixed origin / Other
    • Do you consider yourself to have any disabilities? If so, do you require wheelchair access?

    If you are shortlisted, you will be contacted by the BBC during the fortnight commencing Monday 12 June. We regret we will not be able to contact those who have not been shortlisted.

Terms and conditions

Your application is subject to BBC due diligence reference and background checks. Only online applications are accepted. We will not be accepting any entries by post. The BBC reserves the right to film and broadcast pictures as required.

CLOSING DATE: Friday 9 June

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