Eyewitness report from Tim Harrold
On Friday 31 January 2014 the well-known long-running BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme Any Questions? was broadcast from the Skills Academy Backstage Centre at the High House Production Park in Purfleet.
The huge Brutalist sound-proofed rehearsal space (used recently by X Factor winners dance group Diversity) played host to some 200 people from across Thurrock and beyond, as well as the Any Questions? panel for the evening.
Those present from the Christian Faith Community were Andy Acreman (Thurrock Christian Fellowship); Rev Darren Barlow (Grays Team Ministry & Area Dean); Tim Harrold (Transformation Thurrock); and Rev Andy Higgs (Stifford Parish) (there were probably others).
Every person in the audience were invited to submit questions. Ten were chosen to be potentially used in the programme should time permit. In the event, only five of the questions were tackled. Both Andy A and Tim were chosen to read out their questions – about the Scottish referendum and the relevance of the arts – but were eighth and ninth in line.
Questions that were asked were about the government’s response (or lack of it) to the floods in Somerset; whether the proposed law to prohibit smoking when children are in the car is enforcable; and the proposed Labour policy of the 50p tax rate.
On the panel were Diane Abbott MP (Labour), Eric Pickles MP (Conservative), Simon Heffer (author) and Baroness Jenny Jones (Green Party). Well known TV presenter Jonathan Dimbleby was chair.
Afterwards there was an opportunity to network with local councillors, council executives and Skills Academy staff.
You can read more and listen to the recording here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qgvj