Lichfield Cathedral chosen as future venue for BBC Radio Four’s Any Questions? – hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby and featuring panellists David Blunkett and Will Self

Thu, 03/11/2011 - 18:34

Since 1948, Any Questions? has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 every Friday and on January 27th 2012, the long-running debate show will be broadcast live from Lichfield Cathedral. Each week, Any Questions? visits a different community with a panel of four speakers who answer questions from an audience.

Lichfield will welcome the show’s host and one of Britain’s best-known broadcasters and journalists, Jonathan Dimbleby and he will present the show in the historical Nave of Lichfield Cathedral to a live audience. The panel of personalities for this edition of the topical discussion show will include former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett and novelist Will Self.

Ticket holders for this event on January 27th at 8pm, can submit a question of choice on the day of the live broadcast and as per the strict rules of Any Questions? panellists will hear the chosen questions for the first time during the show and not before.

Over the years, many figures of note have appeared as panellists, including most past and present leaders of the political parties, plus renowned writers such as Frederick Forsyth, Beryl Bainbridge and Fay Weldon, and many distinguished figures from the worlds of Arts, Science, Business and other areas of public life.

The Lichfield Cathedral community looks forward very much to hosting this event in the New Year and hope for a night of lively and topical debate, welcoming 1.5 million listeners to the only three-spired medieval Cathedral in Britain.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield commented:

“We are delighted to welcome BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions?’ to Lichfield Cathedral. The programme makes a great contribution to public debate about all the big issues of the day, bringing together politicians, journalists and the public in a direct and accessible way. It always makes good listening and I’m greatly looking forward to the broadcast“.

How to obtain tickets

Would you like to be part of this historical live broadcast and represent the City of Lichfield? To apply for a free ticket, applicants should contact:

Judith Ayton (Fundraising Officer, Lichfield Cathedral)

Telephone – 01543 306106

Email –

Please note that tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis and applications should be made early to avoid disappointment.

Alternatively for those unable to attend, listeners can tune in after the 8 o’clock News on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 27th January or catch the repeat on Saturday 28th at 1.15pm.

If you have a comment or question on the programme from Lichfield Cathedral or would like to take part in the Any Answers? phone in:

Call 03700 100 444 (Calls will cost no more than calls to 01 and 02 geographic landlines. Lines open Saturday 12:30).
You can also tweet your thoughts on the programme using the hashtag #bbcaq

Host background information

Jonathan Dimbleby

Jonathan Dimbleby is one of Britain’s best-know journalists and broadcasters. He has chaired Any Questions? since 1987 and began presenting Any Answers? the following year.

He took his degree in philosophy at University College London, before beginning his career as a television and radio reporter for BBC Bristol in 1969, moving on to Radio 4’s The World at One in 1970 (where he also presented The World This Weekend). He joined Thames Television in 1972, as a reporter for ITV’s This Week where he won BAFTA’s Richard Dimbleby Award for his report on the Ethiopian famine of 1973. In 1979 he joined Yorkshire TV where he wrote and presented The Eagle and The Bear and other series for the ITV network. Between 1982 and 1986 he presented and was associate producer of the ITV documentary series First Tuesday. For the BBC, he presented On The Record (1987-1992). From 1995 to 2006 he presented ITV’s flagship weekly political programme, Jonathan Dimbleby, and anchored the 1997, 2001 and 2005 General Elections.

In 1994 he wrote, presented and co-produced Charles, The Private Man, The Public Role  and published his book, The Prince of Wales: A Biography. In 1997 the BBC screened The Last Governor, his series on the final five years of British rule in Hong Kong and he published a book of the same name. His documentaries about Ethiopia and Kosovo were shown by the ITV network in 1998 and 2000 respectively. In 2008 his five part series Russia – A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby was broadcast by BBC2 and his book Russia – A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People was published to accompany the series. In 2010 his three part series An African Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby was broadcast on BBC2. His most recent TV series A South American Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby was broadcast on BBC2 in 2011. He is currently writing a book about the Second World War.

Jonathan is currently President of the VSO (since 1997) and chairman of Index on Censorship (since 2008). He is also a trustee of Dimbleby Cancer Care.

A past President of the Soil Association and CPRE, Jonathan is passionate about the countryside, organic farming and sustainable energy, and has recently installed a wind turbine at his home in Devon.