A week ago, we got an unexpected call from Chris at ITV inviting us to be within the audience of ITV’s live EU referendum on Thursday 9th June in London, having seen Birmingham Mail’s recent article on Opus’ own in-house debate that took place on Friday 20th May. Of course, we were delighted to join! Irene and I were as keen as mustard to secure our space, and we got the opportunity to put forward anyone else who we thought would be interested in joining; so we asked Kingsley Crocker and Henry Tonks who both have extremely valid points as young people on the upcoming EU referendum, therefore they were the ideal company!
Similar to the BBC Question Time procedure, we had to send through any questions prior in hope that they would be picked on the day. Unlike Question Time, where we had to put forward a concise question, ITV’s Live Debate encouraged a lengthier, more descriptive question. It wasn’t until the actual day, that we would know whether or not one of our questions would be chosen.
The entire procedure to be within the audience was fairly lengthy, we had police checks (fortunately all clear!), several calls and emails passed back and forth to confirm the itinerary of the day including travel.
On the day, we left Birmingham via coach and headed to The Big Smoke. We arrived in London around 5pm, and had to queue up straight away, then go through bag checks, security and ensure all phones were turned off and sealed within a bag. We waited in the ITV canteen for an hour, where we had the chance to mingle with others, where Irene befriended Jack, a student from Reading. We moved into the studio around 7pm, where we had a short introduction from the stage manager to tell us what would happen, when to clap and what not to do! As it was live, we had to follow all instructions. The panel guests came on around 5 minutes before the live show start time. The stage was split in two with a leave side and remain side. On #VoteRemain was Nicola Sturgeon, Amber Rudd and Angela Eagle. On #VoteLeave was Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Gisela Stuart (fresh from Birmingham!). The debate started off with a brief claim from each panellist to justify their reasons to either stay or leave. Next, 5 great questions chosen from the audience each covering relevant topics; started off a heated discussion between both sides. In Friday’s news The Guardian headlined it as a “Johnson V Sturgeon debate” – this says it all; although I believe all speakers had valid points which incidentally caused rivalry in comments between the leave and remain campaigners.
There were more than 3 million viewers watching the 2 hour live debate and #ITVEURef was trending on Twitter!
Amongst the four of us, we believe to be certain on the decision we are going to make on June 23rd. Being on this show, Question Time and having our very own EU referendum debate; the Opus Team feel pretty prepared for the referendum date. We hope you are too!
We were delighted to get the opportunity to view a national show live, and it was great to represent Opus!
If you missed the show live, you can watch it here: http://www.itv.com/hub/eu-referendum/2a4566a0002 and try to spot some familiar faces!