On 17 June, David Dimbleby announced he is stepping down as host of Question Time after 25 years.
Question Time's David Dimbleby to step down from BBC show after 25 years to return to "first love" of reporting https://t.co/tY5e37Jaik
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— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 17, 2018
Dimbleby’s departure gives the BBC an opportunity to counter its critics with a radical new appointment. But people on social media aren’t holding their breath.
End of an era
The show also has a habit of glossing over key issues:
— John Crace (@JohnJCrace) June 14, 2018
If you ever question #bbcbias I refer you to Dimbleby brushing aside that man’s justified criticism of Oakeshott. Not only did he not refer to what she has done, he tried to protect her. Absolute joke #bbcqt
— •lina• (@agirlcalledlina) June 14, 2018
…or just completely ignoring a national day of mourning:
I'm surprised that #bbcqt is not in or near #Grenfell tonight and does not have a representative from one of their community groups on the panel. But then again, the working class are used to being treated with disrespect.
— I was a JSA claimant (@imajsaclaimant) June 14, 2018
A new dawn?
Therefore, it’s no wonder people were quick to call for a change in approach:
Mad idea I know – but how about instead of an old, white, public school educated, Tory, millionaire, you go for a young, non-white, comprehensive school educated, left wing, working class, person this time? #questiontime @bbcquestiontime #DavidDimbleby
— Westlake72 🥑🌍🐞 (@westlake1972) June 17, 2018
Can we have presenter that isn't @Conservatives biased… oh wait you would have to clear out 75% of your news editors and political reporters for that.
— Raggedy Man Tales (@GM_Jordan) June 17, 2018
Same old faces
Dimbleby’s departure could mark a new dawn for the BBC’s flagship debate. Appointing a young progressive host would be a statement of intent from the much criticised corporation. But many people seem resigned that Dimbleby’s departure won’t mark a turning point for Question Time, with one name cropping up again and again:
David Dimbleby is to retire from gammon time in December. The BBC have announced Nigel Farage as his replacement on the grounds that he has most experience of being on the show and is more impartial than Dimbleby
— Magpie's View #PCPEU (@MagpiesView) June 17, 2018
At least others felt there was a broader array of options:
Dimbleby to leave #bbcqt
Who is producer Alison Fuller-Pedley calling first to offer the job?
— Matt Thomas #GTTO (@Trickyjabs) June 17, 2018
One Twitter user’s prediction was particularly scary; it reads like a stag do from hell:
David Dimbleby is leaving Question Time in December.
His successors are rumoured to be as follows.
Katie Hopkins. Paul Dacre. Richard Littlejohn. Toby Young. Guido Fawkes. Christopher Chope.
— Samanthab1970 (@samanthab970) June 17, 2018
Although there are rumours that the stag do from hell could be eclipsed by Dimbleby’s final show:
Join David Dimbleby for his last ever Question Time with panelists Sir Christopher Chope, Rod Liddle, Norman Tebbitt, Julia Hartley-Brewer and by ouija board, Enoch Powell and Sir Oswald Mosley
— Mr Demos of Pnyx (@gem_ste) June 18, 2018
Thankfully, the suggestion that Andrew Neil should jump into the hot seat was met with strong criticism:
He's a right wing Tory, so yeah right up the BBCs street.
— Tony (@Tonester_7) June 18, 2018
And same old, same old. Time to break the mould with a really new & different face not continue seamlessly
— corn flake (@cornflake57) June 18, 2018
Joking aside, Dimbleby’s departure really is an opportunity for the BBC to counter its many critics with a radical appointment. The scepticism about whether it will take this opportunity is just another example of its beleaguered reputation.
Let’s hope it proves everyone wrong.
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