‘Any Questions?’ hosted at Rich Mix triggers BBC complaint

Martha Kearney, who hosted Radio 4's Any Questions at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green

Martha Kearney, who hosted Radio 4's Any Questions at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green - Credit: Archant

A formal complaint has been made to the BBC over allegations that a current affairs radio programme lacked impartiality.

Radio 4’s Any Questions? show, recorded at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green last month, triggered a complaint from Tower Hamlets Council’s Conservative group leader Cllr Peter Golds.

The office of Tower Hamlets Independent mayor, Lutfur Rahman, had requested tickets for 10 people to attend the show - and three of them were subsequently chosen to ask questions.

In a letter to the BBC, Cllr Golds expressed “surprise”, adding two of the questioners came from similar backgrounds.

“We had been told that questions would be diverse and represent a range of opinions,”he wrote.

“So questions from two, well-off young men in their early 20s, with very similar political views, came as a surprise.

“One can only assume that diversity was followed in as much that one hails from Kensington and attended Oxford, and the other is from Highgate and attended Cambridge.

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“Once again, there are serious questions as to ‘impartiality’ on a flagship programme covering controversial political subjects.”

The show, recorded at the Bethnal Green Road venue on August 16, featured panellists including former home secretary Jacqui Smith.

A BBC spokesman said the complaint would be dealt with, adding: “To ensure Any Questions? is a fair and balanced programme, audience members are required to declare any political affiliations when submitting questions, and the most pertinent questions are then put to a panel of carefully selected guests from across the spectrum of opinion.”