Sheffield school hosts live broadcast of BBC Radio 4's Any Questions

A sense of anticipation filled the air as hundreds of people arrived at the High Storrs School on Friday evening for the live broadcast of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 1:03 pm
Any Questions panel - (L-R) Front row - Tobias Ellwood MP, Lord David Blunkett. Back row - presenter Edward Stourton, Sam Gyimah MP and Ella Whelan

Slowly the attendees trickled through the school’s main entrance one-by-one before being ushered into a side room in preparation for the night ahead.

Eagerly, the majority of attendees set about scribbling their questions down on the cards provided while chattering away meeting others in the room.

It was clear that many in the crowd had already spent some time mulling over what they wanted to ask and, given there was no limit to the number of questions each person could ask of the panel, a handful took more than one card for each.

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When the clock struck 6:45pm the large and very diverse crowd were herded into the hall next door.

There stood a stage, ready and waiting to welcome the panel of personalities from the worlds of politics and media.

The hall quickly filled as people began to find a seat – the first few rows reserved for those asking questions, some teachers, press and of course Claire Tasker, the headteacher of High Storrs School.

Presenter and broadcaster Edward Stourton chaired the panel.

Sitting beside him, former Sheffield MP Lord David Blunkett; Sam Gyimah MP, a former Conservative who rebelled against the government to block a no-deal Brexit and had the Conservative whip removed in September; former Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence and Conservative politician Tobias Ellwood MP; and Ella Whelan, a journalist and political commentator.

One of the unchanging rules of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions is that the panellists never see the questions in advance; they hear them for the first time at the same moment the audience and listeners at home do.

The questions for the show regularly touch on political, economic, social and moral issues of the day and are chosen by the show’s team before broadcast.

It came as no surprise that prime minister Boris Johnson’s name was one that featured significantly throughout the evening – kicking off with a question about Brexit and the current negotiations with the EU.

Other highlights of the night included an insightful discussion around the Turkish invasion of Syria and their attack on the Kurds along with a slightly more humourous debate on whether it is the responsibility for public transport workers to police eating habits on public transport referencing comments made by the outgoing Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies.

You can hear the programme in full by visiting the BBC sounds website here.