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Paddy McGuinness slams Question Time appearance backlash: ‘I was terrified but I couldn’t say no’

Comedian Paddy McGuinness has defended himself after his appearance on BBC’s Question Time divided viewers.

The Take Me Out presenter, from Bolton, appeared on the show hosted by Fiona Bruce on 8 February.

Funnyman McGuinness took his place alongside Conservative deputy chairman and MP James Daly, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting and others to debate the state of the NHS and dental care.

However, some were left unimpressed with his inclusion and accused the show of “dumbing down” and lowering its standards.

“When Paddy McGuinness is on Question Time, then I seriously question the validity of the BBC”, said one viewer.

McGuinness defended his appearance in an interview with Good Morning Britain on Monday (26 February) saying he would have regretted it if he hadn’t accepted the invite.

In a discussion with Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid, he said: “It’s important on programmes like that to have everyone’s voice”.

However, he admitted that he’d found the idea “terrifying“ at first.

Paddy McGuinness said it was “important” to have “everyone’s voice” on the programme (ITV)
Paddy McGuinness said it was “important” to have “everyone’s voice” on the programme (ITV)

“When I got asked to go on, it’s the sort of programme that is terrifying. But it would have really irked me if hadn’t have done it. It wouldn’t have sat easy with me.

“Being working class people look at you as the place you are from as you still speak like them - if I hadn’t have done it then you’re not getting people’s voice across.

“Rightly or wrongly. I’m not even a very political person but I think things like the NHS, you don’t have to be a political person, we all use it and our families use it and everyone knows the state it’s in at the minute so I felt I had a bit of an input with that, like we all do.

 (BBC)
(BBC)

“But if they’d have asked me about trade deals in China or whatever I would have said you’re speaking to the wrong person. I was sweating buckets, I was terrified. But I couldn’t say no to it. It’s important on shows like that to have everyone’s voice heard.”

As Susanna Reid raised the topic of the backlash with people questioning his appearance, the comedian joked: “Well, I was gonna say that to the guy from the Conservative party. I was gonna go, ‘Look what you’ve done to the country. Look who’s on Question Time. It’s your fault this’”.

In his appearance on the show, he demanded answers from Tory politicians and asked: “Why is the NHS on its knees?” and “Look what you’ve done to the country”. It prompted some to say “Paddy McGuinness for PM” on X/Twitter.

He opened up about meeting the political figures in the green room after the the heated exchanged on the show.

“He was right as rain, yeah. He’s a conservative MP, he expects it. Everyone was really cordial after that.”

McGuinness is returning to do a comedy tour called Nearly There... for the first time in eight years and said he was looking forward to it although joked that he’d concerned some people when he’d said he was doing it for “money”.

“It was just a joke, taken out of context.”