The Question Time That Never Was

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Retired QT presenter, Richard, Jonathon, Henry, David Dimbleby, ponders what might have been.
Schools Question Time,
eye dropper
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0


John Bercow (Former Speaker of the House of Commons)
David Davis (Conservative)
Shappi Khorsandi (Comedian)
Sir Rupert Soames (Businessman)

Venue: The Cutting Room Floor

The most recent complete series of BBC Question Time consisted of thirteen programmes running from the 17th September 2020 to 10th December 2020. Unfortunately, probably owing to the need for coronavirus medical experts, some of the advertised panellists were withdrawn faster than a Hungarian MEP dropping down an icy drainpipe, a minute after a daddy’s legs in the air party was interrupted by the Brussels constabulary.

The actual series was dreadful, with, according to The Sun newspaper, viewing figures reaching an all-time low of about 600,000, only slightly more than ITV3’s Christmas repeat of the 45-year-old classic, ‘Carry on Behind’.

Having said that, it does seem a shame to waste one’s research.

* * *

David Davis (Conservative) has been MP for various parts of Hull since 1987 and was the absent and useless Brexit Secretary between 2016 and 2018. Davis claims to have been raised in a single-parent family on a South London council estate. As usual with MPs biographies, this is disingenuous. By the time he lived in London, his mother had married. His step-father worked in Battersea Power Station. The council estate that they lived on was the Aboyne estate which is really quite pleasant. Being close to Wimbledon Park, a three-bed former council house will now sell for about £600,000.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
David Davis.
Official portrait of Mr David Davis,
Chris McAndrew
Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Davis went to grammar school in Tooting and attended Warwick University and London Business School after which he rose to be a senior executive at Tate and Lyle.

As a young man, and for two years between school and university, Davis was a member of the Territorial Army’s 21 SAS (Artists) Regiment. Why is it called the ‘Artists’ Regiment? A friend tells me that there is a need for light infantry to move behind the lines in order to illustrate the enemy’s positions on notepaper. One thinks of Baden-Powell in Ottoman Turkey, disguising Turkish castles in the wings of butterflies, during an insect sketching holiday. Not too onerous, I might like to apply.

But is this true? Or is it force’s humour? Are they taking the mick? Perhaps an excuse to laugh at my application (again), wrap me up in a tent (again) and kick me up and down a Westmoreland hillside (again)? Yes, it is. The Artists Rifles were originally raised as the 38th Middlesex. Recruitment was locational, as with the ‘Pals’ regiments. The location being the Chelsea area of London, the corps originally attracted painters, sculptors, musicians, architects, actors and the like.

Having qualified for the SAS, David was unable to qualify for QT Lewisham, not fit to rub shoulders with an elite force which included Lisa Nancy and Rose McGowan.

* * *

As every Puffin knows, all cultures are equal. As a younger man, your humble reviewer can recall an Ayatollah’s Tehran of wide boulevards, distant snowcapped mountains and streets packed with Hillman Hunters. He can also remember the religious police beating women for being improperly dressed, homosexuals being executed and “shaparak” translating as “butterfly”. In those days, satirical poets and their families fled Iran in fear of their lives. All cultures are equal? Can you imagine the grunting, monosyllabic friend of Question Time, ‘word artist’ George the Poet fleeing Islington while being whipped by Fiona Bruce because his strides didn’t match his jacket? One such family who did suffer such a fate were the Khorsandi’s whose daughter, Sharparak, or “Shappi” was exiled from the Chingford Question Time on September 24th.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Shappi K.
Amnesty International Brave Edit,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The Khorsandi’s were quick to integrate into a particular type of London, becoming a leftie hereditary media family in record time. The father, Hadi, was that satirist and poet. His son Peyvand, grew up to be a journalist at the Independent and his daughter, Shappi, to be a “comedian”. They also assumed the effortless sneering hypocrisy of the London elite. In her imdb profile, the following virtue signalling #metoo quote (regarding a Likely Lads sitcom schoolgirl joke) appears,

“That’s dark. To feel comfortable just talking about it in popular culture like this seems so twisted and dark now and you watch this and you realise why so many people got away with stuff. It was kind of okay to fancy a girl who was on the cusp.”

Meanwhile here’s a picture of the then 40-year-old Ms Khorsandi publicising her 2012 Edinburgh fringe show posing as, ah-hem, a skimpily dressed school girl.

Shappi writes for the Guardian and, alongside her brother, at the Independent. In her newspaper articles, she makes much mention of her time at university and in North London. In fact, Sheppi is from the less media fashionable West London (Ealing) and didn’t go to university, rather to teacher training college, King Alfred’s College, Winchester, where she studied drama. Her Ealing school was a state school, recently converted from grammar. However, Ealing Council censured them for just taking pupils from the posh part of their catchment.

In August 2017, desperate to plug an upcoming Edinburgh fringe show and novel, Shappi came out as bisexual in a self-congratulatory, puke-inducing, leftie love-in smugfest interview with John Bishop. However, John pointed out an apparent contradiction,

JB: You mention in your show, “I’ve never been with a woman.”

SK: I have since then.

JB: You have? Since I saw the show on Monday?

SK: Only once.

While plugging her book, Shappi also mentioned her trips to the Calais Jungle illegal immigrant camp and repeated an unpleasant racist trope about English women being thick (they think Dunkirk is in Scotland).

Strangely, while promoting the book, Shappi kept on referring to its main character as “Emma” whereas in the text she is called “Nina”. Also, she referred to Emma/Nina as being a white girl, with the book having nothing to do with ethnicity. Whereas in the text, the girl is of mixed race. To quote from the first chapter,

“My dad was half Moroccan so I’ve got olive skin and big Arab eyes but my mum’s thin English lips and my Auntie Jeanie’s ski-slope nose. On a good day, I’m Pocahontas; on a bad day – most days – I’m a cavewoman.”

Elsewhere in the work, Nina is described as being a “dusky Arab beauty.” Obviously ghostwritten (by Vikki Pollard judging by the first chapter, available free on Kindle), Khorsandi hadn’t even bothered to read a summary, let alone the actual work with her name on the spine. Just to reiterate an important point:

Everything. You. See. On. Television. Is. Fake.

Nowadays Shappi ‘works’ on Channel 4’s “Steph’s Packed Lunch” which is filmed in Leeds. Famously, ‘Packed Lunch’ enjoys an audited audience size of zero. Ms Khorsandi has been spotted on the train commuting from London. In the interests of equality, she travels first class and has been noticed during lockdown without a mask on. An early morning first class anytime day return is £452 pounds. Her children sometimes travel with her.

Shappi has also appeared in “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here”. A friend tells me she was the first ‘sleb be thrown out despite (or because) she was the first celebrity ever to take her bra off in the showers. Speaking of the experience she said,

“It was just all a bit sad, it felt like school again where, you know, I’m not one of the sporty ones. I’m not one of the pretty girls. And so I’m just a log. I might as well have been one of the logs for them.”

A log would get more laughs, love.

Khorsandi lives in the exclusive Richmond Park area of London, cannot drive and is an atheist and humanist, being president of Humanists UK between 2016 and 2018.

However, this humble author would wager your tiny tin square (with a hole on it) quarter Tūmān, to my hand chiselled King Darius, five billion Rial slate, that Shappi Khorsandi is a religious Shia Muslim, using fake humanism to bash Christians and particularly to bash (Sunni) Muslim faith schools.

* * *

By November 12th’s Dover episode, I had learned my lesson and was only pre-researching those with medical degrees, thus avoiding having to find out anything even more unseemly about former Speaker of the House of Commons, the diminutive Lord John Bercow of Remain, whose views were judged to be less important than David Lammy’s or ‘comedian’ Rosie Jones’s. The rest of the dirt on the irritable little man lies undisturbed. We shall dabble when he’s actually on the programme.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Lord Bercow of Remain.
John Bercow,
Jukian Mason
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0


There is a true story of Lady Clementine Churchill. In my favoured version of it, the day Sir Winston died, before even the undertakers were called (for legal reasons regarding his estate), Lady Churchill had a large portrait of him (unflattering, “modern”) dragged down Chartwell’s marble staircase and bounced onto the lawns. There, the head gardener was ordered to make a bonfire of it.

By Sutherland, and subsequently announced a masterpiece worth millions, the painting did not judge it’s subject. An impressive work, it captured the cruelty of the passing of time, of the diminishment by age. None the less, although in reality more likely a decade previous to Churchill’s death, it went up in flames.

Likewise, half a century later her grandson, uber establishment figure and CEO of public service company Serco, Rupert Soames’s advertised chance to become the next Laurence Fox went up in smoke. QT from Lincoln preferred the sight of Bonnie Greer to the passed over brother of retired Tory MP, uber Remainer, Sir Nicholas ‘Bunter’ Soames.

Always Worth saying, Going Postal
Rupert’s brother, Nicholas ‘Bunter’ Soames MP.
Nicholas Soames in Prague,
BEST Communications
Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Previously, Rupert attended Eton and read PPE at Oxford where he was a member of the Bullingdon club. His sister is Emma Soames, former editor of Literary Review, Tatler and The Telegraph Magazine. His grandfather, on his mother’s side, was Christoper, Lord Soames, who, amongst other things, was the last governor of Rhodesia. Rupert’s great uncle was Baden Powell.

Would a disappointing appearance on QT have resulted in an irate Granny ordering a landed family’s 55 inch smart TV into the courtyard? Would the stable lads have been waiting there with their sledgehammers? We shall never know.

© Always Worth Saying 2021

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file