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Fiona Bruce immediate hit with viewers as she hosts first Question Time after replacing David Dimbleby

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 10/01/2019 Sean Morrison
a couple of people sitting at a table: Question Time: Fiona Bruce, left, and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry ( BBC ) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Question Time: Fiona Bruce, left, and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry ( BBC )

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Fiona Bruce has become an immediate hit with Question Time viewers who jumped to praise the new presenter as she made her hosting debut.

The broadcaster, who took the helm after veteran host David Dimbleby stepped down in December, hosted her first show on Thursday night.

Bruce, 54, began by suggesting that "it doesn't look like there's a lot of support for the Brexit deal" in an exchange with Conservative Party deputy chairman James Cleverly.

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Just minutes after the BBC political debate programme began, viewers began taking to social media to share their thoughts on the new face of the show.

One impressed viewer welcomed the robust and insistent style of the new presenter, saying: "Fiona Bruce is destroying everyone and I love it."

Video: David Dimbleby signs off as host of Question Time

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Another viewer at home added: "Fiona Bruce is excellent. Probing, not putting up with waffle, asking follow ups to get an actual answer, straight to the point."

And one wrote on Twitter: “Two seconds in and I already love Fiona Bruce. No one can replace David Dimbleby but I want her to win!”. Others told how Bruce slipped effortlessly into the role.

The panel for Bruce's first programme included Conservative MP Mr Cleverly, shadow foreign secretary and Labour MP Emily Thornberry, Jo Swinson for the Liberal Democrats, journalist Melanie Phillips and comedian Nish Kumar, who hosts satirical BBC news show The Mash Report.

Bruce made her debut as host of the BBC's flagship debate show from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s heartland of Islington in north London this evening.

Fiona Bruce sitting on a table: Fiona Bruce on the set of Question Time as she prepared to host her first show (PA) © Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB Fiona Bruce on the set of Question Time as she prepared to host her first show (PA)

The experienced newsreader appeared to take little time to settle into the frequently fiery debate show.

Brexit was the first and primary topic of discussion, and Bruce was praised for pressing guests on Theresa May’s deal, Conservative leave strategy, and alleged Labour electioneering over the EU.

David Dimbleby signs off as host of Question Time

In an exchange with the Tory deputy chairman Mr Cleverly, she said: "If this is the government being in control, what does out of control look like?".

She added later on Brexit plans: "Does anyone have any idea what the plan B is, literally anyone?" Receiving no answer after forceful questioning, she asked the audience in pantomime fasion "have I missed it?"

Bruce took over from Dimbleby who had presented the often-heated debate show for 25 years.

File video: Question Time host David Dimbleby kicks out audience member (The Independent)

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The show had received some criticism for recitations of various party lines, and sometimes angry clashes.

Bruce robustly questioned Labour stalwart Ms Thornberry, and halted stormy exchanges between the Corbyn loyalist and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson.

Talking to Ms Thornberry, Bruce said that were "laughing" at the Labour frontbencher when she claimed there was a better deal available for the UK with Corbyn-led government.

David Dimbleby Question Time Best Moments

Ms Thornberry made appeals for a general election during the show.

The new presenter also welcomed journalist Melanie Phillips, and comedian Nish Kumar.

The pair clashed over the comedian accusing Phillips of being a bigot, after the journalist asked whether he had read a report into police racism.

Bruce's performance on the show was praised by viewers, who were impressed with the host's directness and determination to get straight answers.

TV OUT. ALL BROADCAST WEBSITES OUT. No cropping permitted. Picture must be credited to BBC1. We are advised that videograbs should not be used more than 48 hours after the time of original transmission, without the consent of the copyright holder. Video grab taken from BBC1 of Fiona Bruce as she hosts her first Question Time on BBC1 after taking over the role from David Dimbleby. © PA TV OUT. ALL BROADCAST WEBSITES OUT. No cropping permitted. Picture must be credited to BBC1. We are advised that videograbs should not be used more than 48 hours after the time of original transmission, without the consent of the copyright holder. Video grab taken from BBC1 of Fiona Bruce as she hosts her first Question Time on BBC1 after taking over the role from David Dimbleby.

One viewer commented on Twitter, saying: "I loved David Dimbleby but must say Fiona Bruce is proving herself incredibly capable of not just chairing the £bbcqt panel but enforcing actual responses to questions and ensuring flow between responses."

Another said the show was now "much calmer & more orderly", while one concluded: "Fiona Bruce is gonna be good at this job and more power to her."

Bruce made a home on the BBC Six O'Clock News, with experience on News At Ten, becoming its first female presenter. She has also presented Crimewatch and The Antiques Roadshow.

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