It’s the end of an era tonight as This Week goes out for the very last time. The BBC’s late-night politics show has built up a cult following since it first aired in 2003. A host of politicians, from Diane Abbott and Jacob Rees-Mogg, to Charles Kennedy and Ken Livingstone have all appeared. Singer Pete Doherty, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and comedian Stewart Lee have also all popped up. The show’s presenter Andrew Neil has been there from the beginning.
Here is Mr S’s pick of the seven most memorable moments from the show:
Red Ken comes unstuck:
Ken Livingstone is well known for talking about Hitler. But it was on the subject of Venezuela that the former London mayor came unstuck when he appeared on This Week earlier this year. Here is how Red Ken’s nightmare interview unfolded:
“If all that’s true, it would be appalling, but I have watched America impose sanctions… an appalling impact on their country” @ken4london on how Alan Johnson & Esther McVey reacted to his #bbctw film
— BBC This Week (@bbcthisweek) February 1, 2019
Owen Jones’ bounced cheque:
Left-wing commentator and journalist Owen Jones certainly suffered as well when he appeared on This Week in 2012. Jones was challenged over his assertion that the Conservative budget would hand ‘a majority of the Cabinet a cheque worth £40,000’ because of a change to the top rate of income tax. Jones believed that several Secretaries of State would personally benefit from the tax cut.
Unfortunately, it was left to Neil to explain to Jones how income was different to assets. He pointed out that no Cabinet ministers (whose salaries are public) would earn enough to justify Jones’s claim. Oops:
A message to Isis:
Andrew Neil spoke for many with this blistering attack on the Islamist terrorists who targeted Paris in 2015. ‘Evening all, welcome to This week. A week in which a bunch of loser jihadists slaughtered 132 innocents in Paris to prove the future belongs to them, rather than a civilisation like France,’ he said. Here is his full message to Isis:
— BBC This Week (@bbcthisweek) November 19, 2015
Bobby Gillespie refuses to dance:
Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie wasn’t in the mood for dancing when he appeared on the show last October. The clip of the musician sitting ashen-faced while Andrew Neil, Michael Portillo and Labour’s Caroline Flint got their groove on promptly went viral:
Diane Abbott’s expenses:
Diane Abbott may have been a regular commentator on This Week over the years, but that didn’t mean Neil pulled his punches when she ran for Labour leader in 2010. When she returned to her usual spot on the This Week sofa, the Hackney MP was grilled about why she had claimed £1,100 on taxis (including an individual claim for £192) when she lived in London, and whether her brand of leftism would keep Labour out of power for a generation:
Andrew Neil’s Michael Gove impression:
‘I do not want to present Question Time. I could not present Question Time. I am not equipped to present Question Time. This has always been my view. There are lots of talented people that do it, but count me out,’ said Andrew Neil as he opened This Week in June 2016. But which high-profile politician could Andrew Neil possibly have been ribbing?
The Russians under AC Grayling’s bed:
And finally, academic and rabid Remainer AC Grayling was dismantled live on air when he appeared on the programme last year. While Grayling had frequently argued that Russian interference may have been behind the outcome of the Brexit vote, he was quickly forced to admit that he didn’t actually have any evidence for this: