Guests get to their feet as ‘flirtatious’ David Dimbleby bows out of BBCQT
Watch: The veteran broadcaster was given a rousing send-off on his last show before Fiona Bruce takes over.
"This programme marks the end of my tenure of the chair,” said David Dimbleby as he signed off from his final episode of Question Time after a 25-year stint as host.
Applause from the audience and guests - including David Davis, Nicky Morgan and Angela Rayner - then interrupted the 80-year-old as he attempted to give his leaving speech. After a pause in proceedings, Dimbleby told the audience that, while he was “off to new pastures”, it was “not goodbye, but goodnight”.
Dimbleby is by far Question Time’s longest serving presenter, having started in January 1994 and spanned the tenures of five prime ministers. He was preceded by Peter Sissons, who chaired the programme between 1989 and 1993.
Ahead of his final appearance, prominent political figures paid tribute to Dimbleby’s time in the chair. On Radio 5 Live’s Question Time Extra Time, Ken Clarke asserted: "He’s just an A-star journalist and he’s made this programme very much the David Dimbleby show."
Offering a slightly different take was shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who said Dimbleby was able to admonish his guests while still being a “bit flirtatious”.
Dimbleby used his final moments in the chair to thank his colleagues and audience members. Dealing with the final question a few moments earlier, he also gave a glimpse of the flirtatious side that Thornberry might have been referring to.
As Davis limbered up to discuss whether there should be rules that govern comedy, Dimbleby asked the former Brexit secretary: "Have you got a joke about Brexit for us?"
He added: "I was going to say some people might think you are the joke about Brexit."