There are two reasons why it lost its grip on me, and I'm curious to know whether I'm alone in my disaffection for the show
1. Unpredictable eccentric or straight man?
For me, the first step downhill came when the BBC selected Peter Sissons to replace the late Sir Robin Day in the chair, and the second when they appointed David Dimbleby to take over from Sissons.
I've nothing against Sissons or Dimbleby, other than that they are too straight and predictable to make the programme anything like as entertaining as it was when Day was in charge.
Apart from his quick wit, Day's assets included impatience, irritability and an adversarial willingness to put people in their places, regardless of whether they were on the panel or in the audience - all of which you can see being displayed in a short video of the virtuoso in action on the BBC website a few months ago HERE.
For what it's worth, my candidate for the job after Day retired would have been Peter Snow, after whom I'd have gone for Jeremy Paxman. Different from Day, yes, but both with a degree of eccentricity and unpredictability of the kind that used to make Question Time so very entertaining.
2. Five guests on the panel is one guest too many
The programme was originally conceived as a television version of Radio 4's long running Any Questions, which had and still has four guests on the panel. But some time back, Question Time added a fifth member to the panel.
This has not only reduced the amount of time available for each speaker, but has also made it easier for some guests to hog the conversation to the exclusion of others (e.g Jack Straw in the most recent show).
There are also, as readers of Lend Me Your Ears will know, some good technical reasons why the smooth operation of turn-taking tends to degenerate as the numbers involved increases - and becomes especially tricky once you have six people sitting around a table, as on Question Time in its current form.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT IT?
1. Replace David Dimbleby with Jeremy Paxman of Newsnight or recruit Jon Snow from Channel 4 News (and/or perhaps rotate the chair in the way that's worked pretty well on Have I got News for You).
2. Go back to having four guests on the panel instead of five.
(See also the Not the Nine O'clock News version of QT).
'.. for me at least there is a different key factor:with the huge increase in the number of media outlets over the last 20 years, it's just simply no longer as interesting to see politicians being questioned - because you see, hear and read them answering questions all over the place nearly all the time.'
I agree that the increase in media outlets and the fact that we now see more of them being questioned are things I hadn't taken into account.
However, I don't think we see or hear them actually answering questions - with one exception HERE - and their routine evasiveness has been a regular theme on this blog since it started just over a year ago to which a selection of links can be found at the bottom of this post on a duel between Andrew Neil and Yvette Cooper).
You can also link to some more amusing links to classic interviews below: