Friday, February 06, 2009

Can the panel explain what Will Young is doing there?

Had Will Young's presence on last night's Question Time not been trailed a few weeks earlier, the assumption would have been that Dunstable was so snow-bound, they'd been forced to top-up the panel with anyone who happened to be in the area and in possession of a fairly-famous face.

And had he been parachuted in to fill a snow-created gap, you'd probably praise him for doing a good, making-up-the-numbers sort-of job. Indeed, most of last night's panel - Geoff Hoon, Nigel Farrage, Theresa May - had the air of possessing a good set of snow tyres rather than something anyone would want to hear.

Let's be honest, though: Young didn't really do anything to prove those who feel that simply liking the show isn't enough to justify a position on the panel. It's nice to see someone who doesn't just churn out a prepared response to each question, but it would have been nice if Young had been able to deliver at least a few of his answers to give the impression that he'd spent some time thinking about the subject.

From the start, his inability to really grasp any of the issues beyond the surface level gave a curl to the toes. In response to the question about Carol Thatcher, he started off with a rambling anecdote about a man he had dinner with once who was homophobic. "Should I have gone to his bank and had him sacked?" he pondered, instantly failing to understand the crucial question is whether you consider being at work in the green room, in front of a dozen people, to be a public or a private space. He also tried to insist that Carol Thatcher had apologised - properly apologised - when she hadn't.

Had Young been sat in the audience offering his views, you might have thought he was doing a good job (although Dimbleby would have cut him off a lot more sharply). But he was on the panel. A strange choice, as you'd have thought that to justify an invite you'd at least have to be known for having well-thought-out opinions. Or, at the very least, by the end, you'd be known for having them. Perhaps next time they should try H from Steps.

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