BBC Question Time comes to Birmingham City University

BCU students with Fiona Bruce

Students from Birmingham City University (BCU) received unrivalled first-hand media experience yesterday (Thursday 12 January), as the University hosted BBC Question Time at its city centre campus.

Birmingham School of Media

Birmingham City University

With BCU providing the backdrop to the flagship political programme, students from the Birmingham School of Media played important roles on set, supporting with the production and broadcast, gaining industry-standard experience in the process. 

The programme saw host Fiona Bruce joined by panellists Alex Chalk MP, Defence Minister; Bridget Phillipson MP, Shadow Education Secretary; Anna Soubry, former Conservative MP for Broxtowe; Ash Sarkar, contributing editor at Novara Media; and Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley.

The panel took part in a lively debate in the University’s Parkside building, covering a diverse range of topics, including recent strike activity across various sectors and the current pressure on the NHS.

BCU students had the opportunity to get involved behind the scenes, both in the build up to the programme broadcasting and during the recording itself.

“Seeing what people did on set and behind the camera has really helped me to get an idea of what it will be like when I eventually graduate and go on to work in production – hopefully on shows as big as Question Time,” said Isabella Pugh, a final-year Media Production student at BCU, who volunteered as a runner, carrying out tasks for the production team to help the broadcast run smoothly.

Megan Thackray-Howard, who is studying for an MA in Media Production, was another BCU student who got exclusive access on the set. “I was able to help to chaperone the audience and was given the opportunity to do some social media and content creation, posting throughout the show as it broadcast.

“To see what we learn here at BCU on the Media Production course in practice yesterday was a great experience for me – I’m even more excited to join the industry after I graduate.”

Dr Vanessa Jackson, Associate Professor at BCU’s Institute of Media and English, said: “Hosting BBC Question Time here on campus has been a brilliant experience for all involved. It’s been a great opportunity to showcase BCU, our world-class facilities and – most of all – our wonderful students.

Dr Sarah Wood, Head of BCU’s Institute of Media and English, said: “Having such a major programme come to our city centre campus has really underlined our status as the University for Birmingham, and has provided the perfect opportunity for us to represent our students and the local community on the national stage.”

The programme was broadcast from BCU’s award-winning Parkside Building, home to the University’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.

Facilities in the five-story, state-of-the-art building include TV studios, some of which are the largest university studios in the UK. The building also features industry-standard editing suites – all interconnected and integrated by 22km of wire – as well as cutting-edge workshop spaces for art and design students.

In 2019, the Labour Party launched its election manifesto from Parkside Building, with students playing key roles and interacting with leading journalists from global media.

Return to the previous page.

00:00:10:06 - 00:00:45:09: We're delighted to welcome BBC's Question Time to Birmingham City University, which will take place here in the Parkside Building, which is home to the School of Media and has the most amazing state of the art industry facilities. We're delighted to have Question Time here. It's brilliant to have BBC here and to be showcasing BCU and all our brilliant facilities and most of all our wonderful students who and it's absolutely fantastic that a number of them are volunteering on the production and they're going to get stuck in, they're going to be running, they're going to be showing the audience to their seats.

00:00:45:09 - 00:01:12:06: They're going to be doing all sorts of things. It will be a fantastic learning experience for them. I'm looking forward to working with Question Time, so I'll be chipping in and helping out, doing just a little bit of everything. I feel like this is going to be beneficial to me for my studies because it gives me a great insight into how the BBC are going to operate during the production and it enables me to possibly make links within the industry that might eventually allow me a job.

00:01:12:21 - 00:01:33:14: I think it's really, really important to take all these kind of opportunities, especially for something like media where who, you know, and like networking is such an important part of it. I think experiences like these are really important because recently for my last semester, I actually did a lot of client based projects. And I think by working in professional environments throughout uni it helps because it helps build you up before you leave.

00:01:34:07 - 00:01:52:16: So by the time that you're finished with your studies, you've got all the work that you've done in line, but then you've also got the knowledge of working with professionals. So it helps you to sort of build yourself professionally before you end up in the industry.