The leaders debate gameshow

Thinking about the televised live debate last night between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg – leaders, respectively, of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats parties – I still have the same view I had after watching it last night: it was a gameshow.

See what you think from this 8-minute segment I recorded live with Qik on my HTC Desire, at the very start of the TV broadcast:

Gameshow or not, it was something special to watch, particularly as it was the first of its kind in the UK.

And I don’t really mind the gameshow aspect of it – it’s reality entertainment television at prime time, right? – as you’re reaching out via a mass communication medium to people who need to have their attention grabbed by something populist rather than simply as an historical TV event.

So this was ITV’s approach to it. I wonder what the BBC and Sky treatments in the two further debates in the coming weeks will be like.

And what of the talk, the debate itself? Well, it wasn’t really a debate, more a controlled Q&A where people in the audience asked prepared questions.

What it did do, though, was give you another view of the three men who would like to be in charge of the UK after the next election, another insight into their behaviour, their control, their attractiveness or otherwise.

For my money, Nick Clegg performed best of the three. Gordon Brown was next. David Cameron really didn’t do well in this kind of environment. He looked uncomfortable. In contrast, Clegg looked the most natural, looking directly at the TV camera (therefore, at you the TV viewer) almost the whole time he spoke. Brown was just wily, the seasoned political operator.

What will Clegg make of this, I wonder. Suddenly he’s in the spotlight, the leader of a political party that’s always the third runner-up and no one believes has any realistic chance of becoming the party of government.

But he did do well.

As you might expect, Twitter was a fast and furious platform for commentary and opinion on this event. I was part of it, too. You can see the tweets at the #leadersdebate hashtag.

Some Twitter superlatives from Tweetminster:

  • Total tweets: 184,396
  • Average frequency: 29.06 tweets per second
  • Total tweeters: 36,483

As for what the leaders discussed, read the full transcript (PDF).

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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