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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Question Time competition winner
Charlie Bell (Photo: James Wooldridge)

An 18-year-old school leaver won a competition to be on the panel of BBC One's Question Time tonight.

Charlie Bell appeared alongside politicians Ed Miliband and Sayeeda Warsi and TV presenter Davina McCall.

Bell who plans a gap year before studying medicine at Cambridge University said he was "immensely excited" to be appearing.

Young people should have their voice heard said David Dimbleby. "It is their world which they are going to inherit."

The special programme with a youth flavour is being made by the normal Question Time production team with the help of eight students who were nominated as winners of the 2007 Schools Question Time challenge.

TV auditions

The students set out to find a young person aged 16-22 to appear on the panel and represent young people.

SCHOOLS QUESTION TIME
The student producers want young people to send in their ideas for topics to discuss on the programme.

"We are really pleased with Charlie. We couldn't have got anyone better to represent the views of young people," said Daniel Butcher from Denbigh School in Milton Keynes.

"We liked his freshness, charisma and the fact that he could represent a broad range of views," said Jack Taylor from Whitby Community College.

Charlie Bell was chosen after a TV studio audition in the Question Time format chaired by David Dimbleby in which he debated with four other finalists.

Topics discussed in the TV audition included global warming, Gordon Brown and the release of BBC journalist, Alan Johnston.

The editor of Question Time, Ed Havard, said Charlie Bell was "exceptionally eloquent" and "able to cope with all the questions that David Dimbleby and the panel threw at him."

Tonight's Question Time studio audience will be made up solely of young people. And the student producers want young people to send in their ideas for topics to discuss on the programme.

Panel Competition

The Question Time panel competition involved applicants submitting a one minute mobile phone video clip explaining why they should be given the chance to appear on the show.

THE FINAL FIVE
Top row (L to R): Charles Bell, James Brennan, Tabassum Rasheed; bottom row: Vijay Vikram, Question Time logo, Jonathan Wright

It is the second time a panel competition has been staged alongside the Schools Question Time programme.

Last year, a 20-year-old politics student, Matt Pollard from the University of Exeter became the first member of the public to sit on the Question Time panel.

Matt who appeared alongside David Miliband and Lord Coe confessed to being nervous but described the experience as "absolutely brilliant fun" as he tackled questions including Iraq and Tony Blair's resignation.

The challenge

The Schools Question Time programme is the final product of a far wider education initiative to help schools nationwide by supporting the citizenship curriculum, helping improve students' public speaking and listening skills and engaging young people in society and politics.

Schools across the UK, with pupils aged 14-19, were eligible to enter the challenge.

Participating schools were invited to plan a Question Time event, selecting topics and a panel to discuss the chosen issues.

Twelve schools were selected to stage their own local Schools Question Time events in March in front of a team of judges who selected the four winning schools.

Alongside the BBC, the Schools Question Time Challenge is supported by the BT Better World Campaign, the Institute for Citizenship and the Times Educational Supplement.

This is the fourth year the event has been held.

Schools Question Time will be broadcast on Thursday, 5 July, 2007 at 2235 BST on BBC One.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Charlie Bell and David Dimbleby interviewed before the programme



SEE ALSO
Schools Question Time panel finallists announced
03 Jul 07 |  Schools Question Time
Competition winner on Question Time
06 Jul 06 |  Question Time

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