Question Time was first broadcast on 25th September 1979 using a format based on Radio 4's Any Questions. The first panel included Teddy Taylor, Edna O'Brien, Derek Worlock and Michael Foot.
Veteran BBC journalist Robin Day presented the first programme and remained in the chair for ten years until 1989. After introducing the panel his famous catchphrase was: "There they are, and here we go!"
In the early days most programmes came from London and had a simple set design. Panellists on this 1979 edition were Eric Morley, Jo Grimond, Peter Shore and Tess Gill.
In 1984, Question Time presented a special edition from Brussels with former Prime Minister Edward Heath, SDP founder Roy Jenkins, and Robin Cook who 19 years later would resign as Commons leader over the Iraq war.
Peter Sissons replaced Robin Day as presenter in 1989 and stayed in the chair until late 1993. The programme was now moving around the country each week taking the panel to audiences in different towns and cities.
This 1990 panel included the future Tory leader Michael Howard, the former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, the then leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown and former Deputy Labour leader Roy Hattersley.
The future Prime Minister Gordon Brown was on the panel in Luton in 1992 along with Chris Patten, David Steel and Wyn Jones.
David Dimbleby took over the chair of Question Time from Peter Sissons in January 1994. He has presented Question Time for the last 15 years - longer than any other presenter and for more than half the programme's life.
Under David Dimbleby's chairmanship, the programme continued to move around the country and there have been a number of specials made abroad in Australia, the US, China and South Africa.
In 2001 the five contenders for the Tory leadership took part in a special edition of Question Time. Iain Duncan Smith went on to win the leadership. A similar debate took place between David Cameron and David Davis in 2005.
Schools Question Time was launched in September 2003. with the aim of promoting political literacy, parliament and citizenship life skills for young people. Picture shows Shami Chakrabarti with the 2009 winner Suzanne Burlton and Sarah Teather.
During the last general election in 2005, Question Time made history having all three party leaders - Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy on a single programme facing questions from the audience.
After Labour went on to win the 2005 election, the Conservatives had another leadership contest. David Cameron and David Davis went head to head. David Cameron went on to be the new Tory leader. Photo: PA
The audience has always been at the heart of Question Time. Each year, some 30,000 members of the public apply to join the debate. Each week the audience is drawn from a cross section of the general public.
Question Time regularly gets an audience of 2.5 million but this rose to more then three million earlier this year at the height of the MPs' expenses scandal when Commons leader Margaret Beckett was booed on the programme.