Belfast Telegraph

Forceful Fiona Bruce lauded for assertive first appearance on Question Time

The BBC presenter appeared in total control of her first show.

Fiona Bruce has been praised for her deft and assertive handling of panellists on the new-look Question Time.

The experienced newsreader appeared to take little time to settle into the frequently fiery debate show.

Brexit was the first and primary topic of discussion and interruption on the first Question Time since the Christmas break, and Bruce was praised for pressing guests on the Brexit deal, Conservative leave strategy, and alleged Labour electioneering over the EU.

Within the first few minutes of the show, Bruce asserted her authority, firmly questioned Conservative deputy chairman James Cleverly over the Government’s apparent lack of control over the Brexit process.

In an exchange with the senior Tory, she said: “If this is the Government being in control, what does out of control look like?”.

She added later on Brexit plans: “Does anyone have any idea what the plan B is, literally anyone?”

Receiving no answer after forceful questioning, she asked the audience in pantomime fashion, “have I missed it?”

One impressed viewer welcomed the robust and insistent style of the new presenter, saying: “Fiona Bruce is destroying everyone and I love it.”

Another viewer at home added: “Fiona Bruce is excellent. Probing, not putting up with waffle, asking follow ups to get an actual answer, straight to the point.”

Bruce took over from David Dimbleby who had presented the often-heated debate show for 25 years.

The show had received some criticism for recitations of various party lines, and sometimes angry clashes.

The new-look show was filmed in the Jeremy Corbyn heartland of Islington in north London, and featured voices from both sides of the divisive Brexit debate.

Fiona Bruce is gonna be good at this job and more power to her

Bruce robustly questioned Labour stalwart Emily Thornberry, and halted stormy exchanges between the Corbyn loyalist and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson.

Talking to Ms Thornberry, Bruce said that people were “laughing” at the Labour frontbencher when she claimed there was a better deal available for the UK with a Corbyn-led government.

Ms Thornberry made appeals for a general election during the show.

The new presenter also welcomed journalist Melanie Phillips, and comedian Nish Kumar.

The pair clashed over the comedian accusing Phillips of being a bigot, after the journalist asked whether he had read a report into police racism.

Bruce’s performance on the show was praised by viewers, who were impressed with the host’s directness and determination to get straight answers.

One viewer commented on Twitter, saying: “I loved David Dimbleby but must say Fiona Bruce is proving herself incredibly capable of not just chairing the #bbcqt panel but enforcing actual responses to questions and ensuring flow between responses.”

Another said the show was now “much calmer & more orderly”, while one concluded: “Fiona Bruce is gonna be good at this job and more power to her.”

Bruce made a home on the BBC Six O’Clock News, with experience on News At Ten, becoming its first female presenter.

She has also presented Crimewatch and The Antiques Roadshow.

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