BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 14:33 GMT
Lib Dem chief defends TV quiz
Charles Kennedy during the 2001 general election
Charles Kennedy has been a popular guest
Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy has defended his decision to host the satirical television show Have I Got News For You.

He told BBC One's On the Record that it was a way to show those people not interested in politics that politicians "are human after all".


You have got to use the mediums of communication available to you

Charles Kennedy
Lib Dem leader

The appearance is a return to the show for Mr Kennedy who was known as "chatshow Charlie" because of his regular TV spots in the years before becoming leader of the UK's third political party.

He follows the Tory MP Boris Johnson in risking becoming the butt of jokes from panelists Iain Hislop and Paul Merton.

The show has had a different host each week since Angus Deayton's dismissal earlier in the series.

Duncan Smith?

Some at Westminster believe he risks undermining his efforts to have the Liberal Democrats taken seriously as an alternative government.

But Mr Kennedy said that after years of falling turnout in elections, politicians had to do more to get their message across to those who are turned off by conventional politics broadcasting.


I think that there's a place for satire in politics. I think you want politicians who take themselves seriously

Charles Kennedy
Lib Dem leader

Interviewer John Humphrys asked why he was doing it when it was inconceivable that Tony Blair or Iain Duncan Smith would take a similar step.

"To ask the question is to answer it," he said. "Could you imagine Iain presenting it?"

Mr Kennedy said: "You and I spend a great deal of our professional and public life bemoaning the fact that too many people are not engaging in the political process, particularly younger people.

"You have got to, I think, in politics today use the mediums of communication available to you."

Viewing figures

He rejected the idea that his appearance would undermine his credibility in the eyes of the programme's audience.

"They will pay attention and they will reflect on the fact that politicians can also, believe it or not, be human beings.

Ian Hislop, Angus Deayton and Paul Merton
Deayton (centre) was the butt of Hislop and Merton's jibes

"I think that there's a place for satire in politics. I think you want politicians who take themselves seriously, but also can equate with the general public."

Mr Kennedy said he would donate his fee for the programme on Friday 13 December to a hospice in his Highland constituency.

After Deayton's sacking, producers opted to use guest presenters until a full-time replacement could be found.

Deayton's departure was the first permanent change to the show's line-up in its 12-year history.

However, the show with Anne Robinson as presenter was seen by 7.3 million people - the second-highest figure in the show's history.

See also:

10 Nov 02 | Entertainment
30 Oct 02 | Entertainment
30 Oct 02 | Entertainment
10 Aug 99 | Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes