BBC admits: Bruce DID mock Abbott before BBCQT

The BBC’s Fiona Bruce

The BBC has admitted in an email to the Labour Party that new BBC Question Time host Fiona Bruce did mock Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott during the pre-show warm-up before Abbott’s recent appearance on the programme’s panel.

The BBC described the comments as humour and continues to insist there was nothing untoward, in spite of several reports to the contrary from audience members.

A Labour spokesperson asked why the BBC will not give detail of what Bruce said, if there is nothing to hide. As the SKWAWKBOX revealed exclusively last week, the BBC refused to release footage of the warm-up session to the Labour Party.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

If the BBC has nothing to hide, it has nothing to lose by releasing the footage of the ‘good-humoured’ remarks.

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  1. “Good humoured remarks” in a warm up can be used to advantage the participant, or to put them at a disadvantage. I had no idea that the BBC was involved in this level of audience participation programming. It’s quite scary.

    1. The BBC has been unbalanced and unreliable ever since the Hutton Enquiry into the death of David Kelly. It would be wise never to trust it. Just look at its coverage of the American interference in Venezuela. As for Question Time, I don’t understand why anyone watches it any more since there are so many more interesting things to do on a Thursday Evening. I was only able to get part way through Fiona Bruce’s first episode when I took the decision never to watch it again – because I don’t need it.

  2. I would hope that court proceedings are in order, the Labour party Diane in particular have the right to see footage, it would be ok to to make it a none public airing, so as to not whip up any more ‘hate’ aimed at presenters et al but for Diane not to be privy to what was said about her in a program she appeared in is wrong very wrong.

  3. There was already a political bias issue about Question Time all the way through Dimbleby’s tenure as Chair; it was perceptible in how the audience was vetted, how they were prepped before the show, in the balance of the speakers, and in the questions that were selected for discussion. With the arrival of Fiona Bruce (presumably via a selection process about which we know nothing) we now have the wrong person comfortably ensconsed for the long term, presumably until she is 106 years old, guaranteed to spin the whole show whatever way she wants. There would have been so many far more credible female presenters (e.g. Carrie Gracie, Rachel Burden, Victoria Derbyshire, Jane Hill, even – dare I say it- Emily Maitlis) so why on earth did it have to be Bruce?

    1. Victoria Derbyshire, maybe? But the rest are far right presenters. Mishal Husain or how about Steph McGovern she wouldn’t take any prisoners!

      1. They’re all establishment-approved figures and all right-wing but any one of them would have been at least more professional than the hopeless Bruce. As for Steph McGovern, I think she’s not in the “political” BBC club. Doomed forever to do “family entertainment” (animal stories, Royal stories).

      2. Steph ‘Smog Monster’ McGovern is an absolutely marvellous shout!

        Someone without the plummy accent and the ‘old school tie’ deportment. Capable of buying & selling any of her colleagues most MP’s and by far the brightest current affairs/news presenter around.

  4. Looks like the beeb are feeling the heat! They just can’t bring themselves to release the video of the pre show warm up. I wonder why?

  5. This is the reply i’ve had so far. I hope they’re choking; This is an update to let you know that we had referred your complaint to the relevant people and regret that it may take a little longer before we can reply. Please do not contact us in the meantime.

    Although we reply to most complaints within 2 weeks we cannot achieve this every time. It depends on what your complaint was about and how many others we are handling, or may sometimes be due to more practical issues. For example a production team may already be working on another programme or have gone on location.

  6. The Freedom of Information Act you would think would cover the BBC – a public body.

    1. Auntie has proved to be specialists when it’s asked awkward questions. This is unlikely to be aired.

  7. … ‘did mock Shadow Home Secretary Fiona Bruce during the pre-show warm-up before Abbott’s recent appearance on the programme’s panel.’

    I think you might need to replace Fiona Bruce with Diane Abbott Skwawky.

    Let’s see the BBC video footage.. Then we can all see what a friendly bit of banter it was.

  8. The BBC routinely records warm up sessions, as part of their lighting, camera and sound checks – you often see clips used in trailers, promos and documentaries.
    But I bet £111.11p (to charity) that if the pressure on the Beeb continues, they’ll tell us that the tapes (digital files these days), have been mysteriously deleted.

  9. Did anyone see QT last Thursday, and if so, did Fiona Bruce give an explanation for what happened the week before?

  10. If I’m not mistaken, the BBC is a public service provider. A Freedom of Information Request should be put in for the unedited warm up recording to be released or a full written transcript – whichever is financially cheaper.

    1. Footage of the warm-up would be much better of course, then you also see – or hear – how the audience reacted. And given that as of yet they haven’t claimed the warm-up wasn’t recorded, I think we can safely assume it WAS, and that it’s standard practice to do so (to check everthing is working OK prior to recording the actual program, as someone mentioned on SB at some point in the days after the program in question aired). And if they can provide a transcript, then why not a copy of the actual footage. Much simpler one would have thought. And I assume it wasn’t the BBC themselves who used the word ‘mock’.

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