Come the election, let’s strictly debate

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With the General Election just a few short months away, television programmers will be turning their attention to televised debates.

I hope steps will be taken to avoid repeats of such disgraceful scenes that the BBC allowed to happen in the second televised debate between Messrs Darling and Salmond.

There was clearly orchestrated heckling and shouting down of Mr Darling aimed at drowning out his points.

Televised debates should be held without a studio 
audience and questions should be invited in advance.

There could still be viewer participation by way of phone-ins, texts or emails. This would allow panelists to make their points without interruption from ill-
behaved audiences.

Panelists’ contributions, as a result, would hopefully be more substantive without 
relying, when in difficulty, on the same old distraction tactic of attacking Westminster, the Tories, bankers, 
Margaret Thatcher and the poll tax – all guaranteed to whip the baying mob into a frenzy.

I would also urge programme makers to invite people with knowledge 
and gravitas to sit on the 
panels and avoid so-called 
celebrities and comedians who are there for cheap laughs and self-aggrandisement – and who contribute absolutely nothing to the 
debates.

These debates are supposed to be for the enlightenment of the viewers, and there is no place for the type of audiences that we now see on Question Time, The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.

Donald Lewis

Beech Hill, Gifford

East Lothian