Q&A is dead, long live Q&A…

One of the bigger stories in the Republic we didn’t quite get to this week was the news that RTE’s long running current affairs programme Questions and Answers is to bite the dust in June. Shane in yesterday’s Irish Times was scathing about the show’s format:

The show’s high ratings have propped up a format that grew mouldy many years ago. It had become predictable, with its weekly panel of two politicians, a journalist, a lawyer and someone from a topical interest group, each of whom had been briefed about the questions well before they needed to deliver the answers. Its audience, as the show acknowledges every week, is loaded with members of political parties and interest groups. I remember when researchers used to run over from Montrose to the UCD bar in the hope of encouraging a few students to go along and fill seats. I’m not sure if that still happens, but the director’s weekly insistence on seeking out a good-looking audience member betrays its desperation for touches of youthful glamour.

But Deaglan has wind of it’s replacement, which he compares unfavourably with Vincent Browne’s more combative offering on TV3:

You couldn’t have that on the National Broadcaster because you are in the realm of Official Ireland and it would be considered unseemly. What a pity. Browne also draws from a wider pool of journalists for his panel whereas Q&A tends to bring on the same faces and there is a tendency to prefer right-of-centre media commentators.

It doesn’t sound like RTE is going to go for a new format with its replacement for Q&A. Perhaps there will be a greater emphasis on “yoof” (youth) which is a longstanding and traditional slogan among executives right across all branches of the media who have no other ideas rolling around in their heads.

Of Browne’s show, Shane notes:

It goes out later at night, and carries on through the week, but by overlapping it has provided useful comparisons. For instance, although there may be room for audience participation in some way or other on a current affairs show, Browne’s programme shows that you don’t need “ordinary” people present to reflect the public mood.

Indeed… which gives me an idea…

  • idea?

    What idea? Slugger steps into the breach? Become an all island blog? And become a cold house for unionists?

  • I’ll let you know if it ever comes to anything more than an idea. If you’ve been reading Slugger long enough, you’ll know we take an active interest in matters east as well as south (something I hope we’ll expand on in the next few months). And yes, we/I get flak for that too.

    But come on; lighten up lads!! There’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the usual boxes…

    Codeword: rest…

  • CW

    Q&A should have taken a leaf out of the BBC’s Question Time and rotated the show to different locations around the country, thereby addressing both national issues and issues local to the area being broadcast from. It would also have helped break the stranglehold OF the Dublin 4-centred Irish media by being more inclusive to people in Donegal, Cork, Mayo, Wexford, etc.

    Also to make it interesting , they could have had comedians, writers, musicians (not Bono though) etc, on the panel like Question Time occasionally does. David Mitchell, the fat bloke out of Peep Show was particularly impressive on QT last week.