University of Sunderland is set to host popular Radio 4 discussion show Any Questions for the first time.

The panel show, featuring personalities from the worlds of politics, media and elsewhere, will broadcast from the University on Friday, February 28.

Although the panel is yet to be announced, a limited number of tickets are now available to members of the public who would like to watch and take part in the broadcast.

The programme will be hosted by BBC political correspondent Chris Mason who took over the show from long-term presenter Jonathan Dimbleby last year.

Any Questions will be broadcast from the Sir Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre, at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s.

Anyone wanting to attend is asked to pre-register and secure their ticket here at Eventribe.

Members of the public will also have the opportunity to submit a question to the panel on arrival, and they must be willing to read the question in front of a live audience.

Free parking will be available on campus for the evening. Those attending are asked to arrive in good time, from 6pm, and have their ticket or QR code ready to be scanned.

Admittance to the Lecture Theatre will be from 6.30pm, with doors closing at 7.20pm.

Meet your host

Five facts about Any Questions host Chris Mason – by Chris Mason

  1. My first love was radio

When I was about six, I was given a gleaming white, little battery powered radio. You had to zip out the aerial at a jaunty angle to get a signal. I would listen to the football commentaries on BBC Radio Lancashire.

Superb presenters like Brian Moore, Glen Hunt and Simon Ross on Rock FM, which through sheer force of character made Preston sound like Las Vegas. I fell in love with radio: the warmth, the humour, the sounds, the personalities, the conversations. I dreamt of one day being on the radio, one day even presenting my own programme. And sometimes, just sometimes, dreams come true!

  1. On the banks of the Tweed on a Friday night

Years later, when I was an equally nerdy 22 year-old, I’d just finished a shift as a reporter at BBC Radio Newcastle. Me and a mate – Rob Young, now a reporter and presenter on the World Service and the best journalist I’ve ever worked alongside – drove up the A1 to Berwick Upon Tweed to loiter at the back during an edition of Any Questions. If someone then had told me that I would be the first person on Mars and/or the next presenter of Any Questions, I would have regarded either option as equally absurd.

  1. Cor blimey

I first reported from Westminster in 2004. And there is one thing about the place I never tire of. You climb up the steps out of Westminster tube station, earphones in and newspaper under arm, and there in front of you is the most famous building in the country. Yes it is falling down, yes the Elizabeth Tower which houses Big Ben wears the architectural equivalent of a neck brace. But it is still one heck of a sight.

  1. The outsider’s insider

Here’s the thing about reporting politics. When you go to the dentist, you’d probably prefer to see someone who has done the job for ten years rather than ten weeks. But unless you’re careful, the opposite can be true as a political reporter. Yes, with experience, you learn more. But there’s a massive danger of becoming more detached from the audience. In the words of my first BBC news editor: ‘Most of our listeners miss most of what we do most of the time.’

So for goodness sake make sure you don’t lose them, baffle them or bore them. And see what you’re reporting on from their outsider’s perspective, not just yours as an insider. I always try to be the outsider’s insider at Westminster. And now, doing Any Questions all over the UK, I’ll try to be the insider’s outsider – taking Westminster and its debates all around the country.

  1. The doughnut wall

I’m already learning a lot about Any Questions. You know, the kind of stuff that doesn’t get mentioned during the formal recruitment process. So, the brilliant tale of the vicar who had assembled a ‘doughnut wall’ for the panel and the audience at a recent venue. I should have started sooner! Or the edition of the programme powered by Massey Ferguson, after a last minute power cut meant the broadcast kit only chugged into life courtesy of a generator powered by a tractor! What an adventure awaits – I can’t wait to get started.