The most embarrassing Question Time appearances of all time

Anti-vaxxer with philosophy degree rebuked in awkward Question Time exchange

It’s a British institution which has been on our screens since 1979, and the political media landscape just wouldn’t be the same without Question Time.

It’s a place where some of the biggest players go to face difficult lines of inquiry, and where people can go directly to sit in the audience, raise their hand and hold power to account.

Sadly, though, it’s also a place where some of the most arrogant, self-important and often woefully ignorant people go to make a complete tit of themselves.

Over the years there have been plenty of embarrassing Question Time appearances, ranging from moronic questions to baffling appearances on the panel.

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There are some of the most cringeworthy moments in the show’s 43 year history in all their glory.

The unvaccinated philosophy graduate

The most recent skin-crawlingly awkward encounter on the programme saw an unvaccinated graduate argue that the covid vaccine has "fairly horrific side effects" and that "we're working with incomplete data."

He added: "I think for young, healthy people there's a fairly reasonable argument that the side effects or potential side effects are worse than the possibility for harm from the disease."

On the panel was Professor Robin Shattock, head of the Mucosal Infection and Immunity at Imperial College London’s medicine department, who replied: "I think the actual evidence for the safety of the vaccine and its efficacy in a healthcare setting is so overwhelming.

"The evidence and facts are there and they're indisputable," he later added.

Not satisfied with the summation from the world-leading expert, he proceeded to argue back – only to be told he was talking “absolute nonsense”.

Dimbleby kicks out an audience member

Question Time host Dimbleby boots out audience memberBBC

A shouty audience member found himself on the receiving end of David Dimbleby’s ire after he repeatedly interrupted panel guest Gina Miller back in 2017.

The man, who also happened to be wearing one of the loudest shirts in the history of the show, was shouting angrily in the wake of the general election results, which resulted in a hung parliament.

After a heated exchange, Dimbleby had enough and booted him out, leaving the man to pick up his bag and scuttle out as the rest of the audience applauded.

Good on you, Dimbleby.

The bonkers reason for voting Brexit

The audience member raised eyebrows in 2016BBC

It’s become a tired cliche when it comes to Brexit, but as it turns out, people really did vote to leave because of the shape of bananas.

One woman said on the show right after the vote: "I was voting Remain and at the very last minute I changed my decision and I went to Leave.

“And the reason because of that is because I go to a supermarket and the banana is straight. I'm just sick of the silly rules that come out of Europe."


Joey Barton being... Joey Barton

Joey Barton calls UKIP "one of four ugly girls" on Question TIme - BBC

Remember when Joey Barton tried to reinvent himself as the thinking man’s footballer? That was a crazy few months, wasn't it?

His brief stint regurgitating Plato quotes and Smiths lyrics got him a booking on Question Time – which went really badly.

The former Manchester City and Newcastle player didn’t make the best of impressions, especially after comparing UKIP to the best looking one of “four really ugly girls” in one appalling exchange.


Eric Pickles complaining about having to turn up for work

Eric Pickles didn't endear himself to the Question Time audience BBC

It’s not just audience members who put in embarrassing displays on the show. Back in 2009, Eric Pickles rocked up to an episode in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal, which resulted in a frosty relationship with the audience.

After Pickles explained that he had a second home as part of a “two house system with an allowance”, it was revealed that his home was just 37 miles away from Parliament.

He was at pains to explain how he had to turn up to parliament on time – which Dimbleby said was “like a job, in other words.”

"I am never going to be able to satisfy you folks,” Pickles said, after failing to win them over.

The 5% tax man

Question Time audience member is confused over tax proposalsBBC

A confused individual made one of the least self-aware appearances in recent years in 2019, when he went on a rant berating tax increases.

The man hit out at Labour's plans to tax the top 5 per cent of earners in the UK. He claimed that they were incorrectly proposing to increase his taxes, despite earning £80,000 a year which he claimed wasn't in the top per cent.

He went on to say he was "nowhere near even the top 50 per cent" of earners in the country during a confrontation with Labour MP Richard Burgon – despite the fact he very much was.

"I would like to call Labour out as liars,” the man said. "I am one of them people he will tax more and I am nowhere near in the top five so I am calling you a liar.

"That 5 per cent is a lie, I am nowhere near that and you are going to tax me as an employee. You are not going after the billionaires, you are going after the employees because it's easy money and I have no choice because it's PAYE."

Host Fiona Bruce stepped in to try and point out the flaw in his argument, but he was having none of it. All very strange.

The “Island” / “Ireland” guy

This one has to be seen to be believedBBC

All of the others are bad, but there’s one appearance which really sticks in the memory when it comes to embarrassing moments on the programme.

The ultimate in stupid Question Time moments came back in 2019, when an audience member in a black turtleneck offered up the single least intelligent take on Brexit, the Irish backstop and Northern Ireland we’ve ever heard.

"I'd just like to say something that I thought would never leave my mouth; I think Boris Johnson's done a brilliant job with going over there," he said firstly, wading into the debate.

He then offered up his explanation, saying: "There's thousands of issues I'm sure to do with Brexit but it's always to do with the Good Friday Agreement, the DUP, the Northern Ireland backstop, all this.

"Why does that one issue put a big break on the whole thing and we have to negotiate around that? This is going to sound crazy, but Ireland being referred to as Ireland, the island of Ireland."

The man added: "Why don't we just try and get that as an island again? And then we can carry on with our own thing."

He was right in at least one regard – it did sound crazy.

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