Fiona Bruce: I was briefed about Laurence Fox before Question Time appearance

The host said the show is ‘entirely unpredictable’ and that it is inevitable there will be arguments.
The host said the show is ‘entirely unpredictable’ and that it is inevitable there will be arguments.

Fiona Bruce has said she was briefed about actor Laurence Fox ahead of his controversial appearance on Question Time.

Former Lewis star Fox made headlines in January after arguing with audience member Rachel Boyle, a lecturer on race and ethnicity, over the media’s treatment of the Duchess of Sussex.

Bruce, the Question Time host since January 2019, said that arguments were naturally part of the programme’s “unpredictable” format.

She told the Radio Times: “I had a briefing about Laurence, and what he might say, but the thing about Question Time is that it’s entirely unpredictable, so people will get into arguments.”

Addressing the general atmosphere on her show, Bruce said: “Well, it’s a lot calmer than last year.

“There was a level of anger and toxicity that this year, so far, is absent.”

Bruce said she had been surprised by the level of national vitriol reflected on Question Time when she took over from long-standing host David Dimbleby.

She said: “I’m all for a passionate debate, and sometimes things can be heated, which is fine, up to a point.

“As long as we remember that we are human beings. I feel very strongly about that.

“I hadn’t anticipated that I would spend so much of my time last year saying: ‘We don’t talk to each other like this’.”

Radio Times magazine cover

Bruce also said there were similarities between Question Time and Antiques Roadshow, which she has hosted for over a decade.

“Antiques Roadshow is public service,” she said.

“It reflects the nation back to itself, as does Question Time. And as with Question Time it’s not reflecting central London.

“There are a number of programmes in which the BBC goes round the country and I am fortunate enough to work on two.”

Read the full interview in Radio Times, out now.