Fiona Bruce has impressed critics and viewers alike with her debut as presenter of BBC political debate show Question Time.
The veteran BBC newsreader was chosen as the programme’s new host last year, after David Dimbleby announced that he was stepping down following 25 years at the helm.
Although Dimbleby was not without his detractors, his ability to keep politicians, celebrities and members of the public in order during especially heated moments was widely admired.
So how did Bruce do in the hot seat? This morning’s reviews were almost unanimously positive, praising her firm moderation and willingness to hold panellists’ feet to the flames.
“An impressive debut,” was The Daily Telegraph’s verdict. The newspaper applauds Bruce for bringing “calmness, clarity and even some dry wit” to the proceedings while “exuding quiet authority and ensuring the discussion was less about point-scoring, more about measured debate”.
Her rigorous questioning of MPs James Cleverly, Jo Swinson and Emily Thornberry was “as brisk and persistent as Dimbleby’s”, agrees The Guardian. However, the newspaper adds that her “fresh and effective” presence was at odds with a format that seems increasingly stale.
In recent years, Question Time has too frequently devolved into “a bun fight with all the sophistication of a chip-shop barney at pub chucking-out time”, says The Times, which argues that Bruce’s “focused, thorough, journalistic approach” could be enough to steer the show back on course.
The audience at home also seemed to enjoy Bruce’s tough approach during her debut appearance, on Thursday night. The London Evening Standard reports that the reaction on social media suggests the new host was “an immediate hit”.
“Probing, not putting up with waffle, asking follow-ups to get an actual answer, straight to the point,” was one viewer’s admiring verdict, while another fan joked that Bruce’s robust questioning was “destroying everyone”.