In a hectic week regarding NHS spending and the (alleged) Brexit dividend, the news emerged that Question Time, which usually acts as a summary of the week’s political debate, will no longer be presided over by the BBC’s veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby.
At the end of the year, he will be handing over his job of arbitrating this weekly bacchanal of bickering and blustering to the next (un)lucky BBC journo.
Although commentators seem universally agreed that his successor will be a woman, the betting companies have so far failed to open stakes on the contest. So, here’s my assessment of Dimbleby’s likely successors:
The twitterati’s favourite for the job and a BBC veteran having reported with Dimbleby on several election nights, Maitlis has certainly proved her credentials presenting Newsnight for several years. However, her self-professed gentler interviewing style might not square well with the aggression with which Question Time audiences tend to approach debates.
Wark threw her own hat into the ring last month, making her an instant favourite for the job. Like Maitlis, she’s made her name on Newsnight, though has presented the programme for 25 years to Maitlis’ four. Could this long tenure mean she’s up for a switch to BBC One, or will she be happy to stick around the studios of BBC Two?
Young has been widely touted as one of the favourites to succeed Dimbleby after earning praise for her coverage of the royal wedding earlier this year. However, there is cause for skepticism: Young currently presents Desert Island Disks, and substituting chatting about music and personal tragedy with celebrities for subduing members of the public who’ve become too agitated about the NHS seems like a questionable career move, not least in terms of personal sanity.
Having presented Daily Politics for 15 years, Neil certainly knows how to put arrogant politicians in their place. However, his vocal support for the Tories has put him in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, so he’s likely to be overlooked. Furthermore, allegations of sexism for failing to appoint a woman and bias for appointing a known Conservative wouldn’t look great on the BBC.
Robinson’s interview style means he’s certainly suited to the job, but as a recently-appointed presenter of the Today programme, Robinson might find 5am starts don’t fit well with a programme that airs at 11pm.