Who will replace David Dimbleby as host of BBC Question Time?
Some politicians are hoping it will be a woman... and not Nigel Farage.
David Dimbleby has been called a "a titan in British broadcasting" and a "champion of the public" by BBC director general Tony Hall.
But not all politicians have felt the same way in recent months. The naysayers include Labour MP Barry Sheerman who took to Twitter earlier this year to declare: “Time the Dimbleby brothers domination of our BBC current affairs output came to an end!”
Similarly, Lib Dem peer Sarah Ludford took time out from viewing Question Time to moan: “Oh God; the sooner David Dimbleby leaves #bbcqt the better”.
Now her wish is set to come true as Dimbleby is to leave the BBC's flagship political programme after 25 years, with a final broadcast on 13 December 2018.
In that time Dimbleby has hosted many of Britain's most prominent politicians on Question Time, as well as contributors as diverse as Russell Brand and BNP leader Nick Griffin. However one of the most frequent guests on the show under Dimbleby’s reign has been Nigel Farage, with a whopping 32 appearances over 18 years. The only person to beat the former Ukip leader’s tally is Tory grandee Ken Clarke, with 58 appearances over 36 years.
Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark is a leading contender to replace Dimbleby, having recently revealed she would be interested in taking over the role and would "throw her hat in the ring" when he stepped down.
Other contenders include:
- Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis
- Today programme hosts Nick Robinson and Mishal Husain
- BBC News anchor Huw Evans
- BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine
- Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young
- 5Live presenters Nicky Campbell, Victoria Derbyshire and Emma Barnett
- BBC political interrogator-in-chief Andrew Neil
- Former Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman
- Former Channel 5 presenter Matthew Wright (apparently)
Labour MP Liz McInnes said it was “fantastic to see so many women in the frame to succeed David Dimbleby” and hoped that “whoever takes over brings their own style and remains very much their own woman”.
Former Labour adviser Ayesha Hazarika was slightly less optimistic. “Fingers crossed for a woman but will probably be Jonathan. Or a Jeremy,” she stated.
Meanwhile Labour peer Andrew Adonis had a different worry: “My only concern about David Dimbleby retiring from @bbcquestiontime is that Nigel Farage will become its permanent chair, rather than semi-permanent guest.”
Many others just hoped that Harry Enfield would get the gig….