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My Experience on Question Time

By Charlotte Burchill

Have you ever wondered it is like to be in the audience of Question Time?


When I received an email from Lancaster University that Question Time was heading to campus, I knew this was an opportunity that I could not miss!


I have fond memories of sitting at home with my parents, staying up past my bedtime to catch a glimpse of the public mood to the week’s news and longer-term issues that communities across the UK faced.


Question Time offers one of the only moments where members of the public can hold politicians and journalists from across the political spectrum to account. It is also notorious for its rogue audience that have created some memorable viral moments over the years.


After giving a few details to the production team, I received a call from an Assistant Producer where I was asked what issues I would like to be seen covered on the programme.


Immediately, I knew that I wanted to see how the guest speakers would respond to how they would ensure more young people are politically engaged and quickly scribbled this on the extra question paper we were given on arrival at the filming location.


What is not shown on screen is the long wait before the programme airs. I arrived at the filming location at 6pm, two hours before the programme is recorded live and broadcast on BBC iPlayer at 8pm.


The team actively encourage the audience to interact with each other before the recording. It was fantastic to see so many young people in attendance, passionate to discuss and raise the issues that matter most to them!


I was glad to see fellow students at Lancaster University address the difficulties students face due to current cost-of-living crisis. Lancaster Universities Students’ Union President, aptly stated that:


‘Students are the future of our economy. If we can’t eat, we can’t study, if we can’t afford our rent, we can’t live here’.


This is a statement that rings all but true for many students, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.


Although guest panellist, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and former Shadow Secretary for Housing Lucy Powell MP was in attendance, I would have liked her to respond more specifically to the challenges young graduates face when securing affordable housing that enables them to access job opportunities within UK cities.


IHAV has provided me with the skills and ability to challenge the views of others whilst appreciating the need for informed debates between those in power and the public.


If Question Time is ever visiting your local area, I would highly recommend applying to be in the audience. In order for politics to be more reflective of our society, we need more young people to have the confidence to engage with politicians and ask difficult questions they may not encounter in Parliament.


Charlotte is IHAV’s Regional Lead Ambassador and is part of the Politics for All campaign group. She is also completing an MA in International Relations at Lancaster University.






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