Belfast Telegraph

Here's David: BBC's Question Time on its way to Belfast

BBC flagship current affairs programme Question Time is set to make its way to Belfast with the Northern Irish public asked to apply to appear in the audience.

Presenter David Dimbleby, and an assembled panel that will include former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers and Labour Shadow NI Secretary Owen Smith will face questions from an audience in Titanic Belfast on October 12.

Speaking about the upcoming visit, Mr Dimbleby - who has presented the programme since 1994 - said: "I am very much looking forward to Question Time returning to Belfast. What really matters is that we have a lively audience who want to speak their mind. It’s a chance for Belfast to get its voice heard not just by politicians but right across the UK."

People from Belfast and the surrounding area are asked to come forward to apply for places in the audience.

They can do so through the programme's website, or by calling 0330 123 99 88.

The programme has been to Belfast 18 times since it debuted in 1979, with the last visit in January 2016 featuring appearances from Theresa Villiers, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain, the DUP's Nigel Dodds, Sinn Fein's Declan Kearney, and comedian Grainne Maguire.

The programme has always focused on lively political debate, and thrown up a few controversial incidents in its 38 years.

In 2009 the programme was critcised after an invitation was extended to the leader of the British Nationalist Party Nick Griffin.

An episode in 2015 sparked controversy due to an appearance by George Galloway, who was then leader of the Respect Party.

The programme was recorded in Finchley - an area of London with a large Jewish population - and saw it asked if Mr Galloway bore some responsibility for a rise in anti-semitic incidents in the UK due to his being an outspoken critic of Israel.

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