More than 150 people packed a make-shift studio in the Colosseum last night as Watford played host to the BBC's Question Time panel.

Chaired by David Dimbleby, the panel included the Housing Minister Caroline Flint MP, the Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, writer and broadcaster Clive James, and the author and columnist for the Daily Mail Melanie Phillips.

Topics ranged from the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and his views on Sharia Law; the Government's policy on terror detention; Dwaine Chambers' drug taking, youth crime and the rights and wrongs of the Beijing Olympics.

For the vast majority of the audience it was their first experience of television production - a fascinating process which leaves little to chance.

A make-shift panel chaired by the show's floor manager spent nearly two hours warming up the audience off air, fielding questions of a more local nature.

Issues of particular note were the joint miseries caused by teenage binge drinking and London Mayor Ken Livingstone's crusade against drivers of four-wheel-drive vehicles.

For the main filming itself meticulous preparations were made; questions were supplied to audience members and the panel members proper warmed up with an off air question about Ms Flint's "something for something" ideas on the allocation of council housing.

Those who attended seemed happy with the experience.

Nineteen-year-old Northwood law student Imran Dewj, who commented in the Sharia law debate, said: "I thought it was a great evening. I really enjoyed hearing Clive James and I thought the Bishop spoke extremely well.

"When I applied to the show I told them I was a law student and a Muslim so I suppose that made me ideal to speak."

Retired teacher Jill Jenkins, of Cassio Drive, added: "I thought it was very good that the show came to Watford. It's very popular here. I know a lot of people that applied for tickets but couldn't get on."

The show was broadcast on BBC One about one hour after filming ended.

How did the panel rate?

Clive James: 9/10 A typically robust performance from the ever popular Australian writer/broadcaster, a pleasing mix of well made political comment and razor sharp satire from a man of of enormous intellect.

Caroline Flint: 6/10 Little to write home about for Ms Flint. A pondering, predictable performance of the type we've become accustomed to by government ministers. Disappointingly, a question about the something for something' debate on council house tenants, was used only as a warm up.

Melannie Philips: 8/10 Like her or loathe her Mrs Philips makes an excellent panelist; unabashed and straight to the point - even if her views make her few friends. Easy to see why the show's producers invite her back time-and-again Baroness Warsi: 5/10 Not the best performance from the likeable peer, but, in fairness, the combative Question Time format does her few favours.

Rt Rev Lowe, Bishop of Hulme: 8/10 A late replacement for Michel Portillo, the Bishop was on hand not only to defuse the Arch Bishop of Canterbury Debate but also to offer, measured, educated and persuasive arguments. A calming influence and a confident panelist.

David Dimblebey 9/10 A typically professional performance from one of the county's top broadcasters. Decisive on-screen and hugely likeable off it, Mr Dimbleby was very impressive.

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