More lady bashing from Amanda Platell
Fiona Bruce doesn't have the cunning, political nous or ferocity to command the Question Time bear pit
As the presenter of the Antiques Roadshow, Fiona Bruce should be able to differentiate between a priceless chalice and a poisoned one.
One of the most eloquent, intelligent and gracious faces on TV, she has been offered the job of presenting Question Time, taking over from David Dimbleby who has held the chair for nearly a quarter of a century.
My advice? Don’t take it, Fiona!
It’s not that she’s not clever enough, she is. But replacing DD — an antique himself — is the most daunting prospect. As a long-time QT panellist, I have been a fierce critic of Dimbleby, yet I concede he has in his little finger more political knowledge than all of his guests combined.
Question Time is the only serious political programme that provides a platform for proper debate, pitting minister against shadow minister. Where panellists do battle with each other as well as the formidable and often baying audience.
It is a bear pit. Do Fiona’s virtues prepare her for that? Does she have the forensic political insight for the job? I suspect not, even though she cut her teeth on Panorama and Newsnight and was the first woman presenter on a BBC election broadcast.
In any case, would she really want to win the race when men were not included in the heats? Yes, Nick Robinson was a token male candidate but the achingly PC Beeb was never going to give the job to a man.
What joy is there in winning the top prize when 50 per cent of the candidates can’t compete? Andrew Neil, Robert Peston, John Pienaar, to name but a few — all excluded because of their sex. And much as I adore Fiona, does she really match up to Laura Kuenssberg or Emily Maitlis?
Question Time is the toughest of gigs for the presenter. It doesn’t require poise but cunning, political nous and a ferocity and command I suspect Fiona does not possess.
The job is not so much herding cats, as being ringmaster to starving lions ready to bite each others’ heads off. It’s not the Antiques Roadshow. This is politics in the raw, where everyone believes they know all the answers.
It is, and should be, forensic, fierce, formidable. That’s not Fiona Bruce. She’ll be a butterfly broken on the unrelenting wheel of politics.
Or does the BBC have some dastardly plan to turn QT into a nice, friendly chat? In which case three million viewers will turn off.
As a QT regular, I still get calls from politicians asking for advice before they go on. Apart from being on top of your brief, the key thing is to breathe calmly and smile. Advice not taken by the first woman I counselled, a Shadow Education Minister, one Theresa May.
Given Dimbleby's mediocre performances in recent years Fiona Bruce will be a definite improvement.