David Dimbleby has broadcast his last Question Time as host after 25 years in the role, thanking the BBC show’s staff on his final programme last night for a “truly team effort” before he goes “in search of new pastures”.
Dimbleby received a standing ovation from the audience and panel as he brought the show to a close in Southwark, south London, by saying: “This programme marks the end of my tenure of the chair.”
After a huge round of applause, Dimbleby said: “After a quarter of a century I’m off to new pastures, or at least in search of new pastures, but I didn’t want to end without saying something about this programme which is, of all the programmes I ever worked in for the BBC, a truly team effort.”
He thanked the editors, producers, researchers, directors and technical back-up who “have made it possible over these past 25 years” with a special mention to the show’s “engine room who have been here right through”.
“[They] find the places we go to and select our audiences, which as we know with the political pressures on us is not very easy.”
Dimbleby also thanked the more than 100,000 audience members who have joined the show over the past 25 years “and who have exercised what I think is a really important democratic right to put questions to the panel and to argue with each other”.
He ended by reminding viewers to tune in for the return of Question Time under new host Bruce on 10 January, adding: “I hope you’ll join her then. From me a happy Christmas and not goodbye but goodnight.”
Dimbleby’s final Question Time panel featured former Brexit secretary David Davis, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, former education secretary Nicky Morgan, the Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas, and comedian Jo Brand.
'From me, a happy Christmas and not goodbye, but goodnight'
David Dimbleby receives a standing ovation from the panel and audience as he says goodbye to BBC Question Time after 25 years. #bbcqt #dimblebye pic.twitter.com/3ldAPY6STR
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) December 13, 2018
Dimbleby announced he planned to step down from the show in June, saying he wanted to return to his reporting – his “first love” – although his next project has not yet been revealed.
Bruce will continue to regularly present the BBC’s evening news bulletins and shows Fake Or Fortune? and the Antiques Roadshow once she takes on the Question Time chair.
She said last week: “It is an honour to be asked to take on one of the great political programmes of the BBC – particularly at a time of such historic change for the UK and tumult at Westminster.
“For many years Question Time has been presented by one of my television heroes, so I am thrilled and not a little daunted to be stepping into his shoes.
“But it is a programme I have watched for as long as I can remember and have long wanted to be part of. I can’t wait to get started.”
Journalists and politicians also took to Twitter to share their praise for Dimbleby…
Congrats to the great David Dimbleby as he bows out from @bbcquestiontime tonight after 25yrs.
I’ve appeared on the show 22 times with him & shared many a laugh, jibe & heated debate.
But always a delightful dinner afterwards.
Great broadcaster, great guy. 👍 pic.twitter.com/lJVmlyZnBL
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 13, 2018
Huge love and respect for the fabulous David Dimbleby on his final ever @bbcquestiontime tonight. I’ve been a QT panellist 12 times and David has been a true pro every time. He’s also a bloody hoot at the post-show dinner. End of an era. pic.twitter.com/vOXPuYgJAv
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) December 13, 2018
In these times of social media judgement and media burnout, very few true broadcasting legends stand tall. David Dimbleby is one. At 80-years-old and after 25 years in the hot seat, he leaves @bbcquestiontime tonight. And the show will simply not be the same. #bbcqt pic.twitter.com/17DGgZnmAP
— Dan Wootton (@danwootton) December 13, 2018
A real honour to have been on David Dimbleby's last ever #bbcqt.
After 25 years he still keeps holding politicians to account – and quite rightly doesn’t let us get away with a thing. It’s terrifying (in a good way…)
Wishing him all the best for the future #Dimblebye
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) December 13, 2018
— Hugh Pym (@BBCHughPym) December 14, 2018
David Dimbleby couldn't have been more polite and welcoming when I first did @bbcquestiontime. I was terrified! It's been a real honour to have been on the panel with him three times and I'll miss him hugely. There's some awful people in television. David is one of the good ones.
— Paris Lees (@parislees) December 13, 2018
All the best to David Dimbleby on his last @bbcquestiontime tonight – it was a pleasure to work with him during my two years on the programme whilst at the BBC, a brilliant professional and a gentleman. I wish him well for the future #Dimblebye #bbcqt pic.twitter.com/6uP96iwAnp
— Lewis McKenzie (@LewisMcKenzie94) December 13, 2018