Television has the ability to inform and educate, as well as entertain us, but on the evidence of last night’s program featuring the five Prime Ministers in waiting, it is failing miserably on all counts.

Was it the format? Was it the presenter? Was it the candidates – that made it a complete waste of an hour. The time constraints resulted in gabbled answers squeezed between the condescending ‘thank you paddy/taffy/jock for raising that issue’ and the irritating over-talk by the presenter trying to interject some prior quote of the speaker to elicit a response – all in the ‘minute and a half’ allocated. There was also no attempt to stop several candidates speaking at the same time, principally because SHE was too busy trying to get in her two-penn’orth Where are the Richard Dimbleby’s when you need them?. Of course, even HE wouldn’t get the job these days would he? What bloody nonsense!

The only entertaining bit was watching Boris stumbling for how to address the questioner who’s name he couldn’t recall. Boris is more like the rest of us. Shall we be saying to him soon ‘Yes, Prime Minister’?

Why is it that people have difficulty understanding the concept of negotiating. No-one (in their right mind) would want to leave the EU with ‘no deal’, but no-one (in their right mind) would let the opposition know that you would not be willing to.

TV’s biggest problem in presenting this sort of program is scheduling, time constraints. There is not enough time to allow anything meaningful to be said. Having said that, there is a limit to how much time anyone would want to listen to five politicians spouting a response to the same question – and several questions to boot. ’tis a dilemma. There are too many candidates for this approach, too little time. But the program makers should know this. There is no intention to inform or educate – just titivate, hoping someone will fall on their (s)words.

No-one would be satisfied with the politicians’ responses. The questions were impossible to answer in the sound-bite language required from such TV programs. ‘Will you be willing to leave the EU on 31st October with No Deal’? The answer is ‘Yes’ – whether you would or would not.

This program was not a debate, it was a debacle – contrived by poor format and poor presenting, and doing neither the candidates, the process nor politics, nor us, any favours.