Fiona Bruce on lockdown anxiety and her Question Time regret

Question Time host Fiona Bruce has revealed she became “very anxious” in lockdown – and said she regrets not “shutting down” a Lord Of The Rings star on the flagship BBC show.

The Antiques Roadshow presenter, 56, said she became “more Zen” after getting used to lockdown.

But “in the first week or so I was very anxious, and fearful and worried for my family,” the mother-of-two told Radio Times.

Bruce felt anxiety about contamination while making cups of tea in the shared BBC newsroom kitchen, the magazine said.

“But then I got used to it and as time went on I forced myself to become more Zen.”

She said: “I cleared out every cupboard in the house, got the sticking key on the piano mended – by my husband…

“But all the things I meant to do, like getting my piano playing up to scratch or learning another language, just didn’t happen. I did work out a lot, did a lot of running and dog walking.”

Bruce also revealed her regret at not intervening on Question Time during a debate over Donald Trump.

Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies, known for his role as Gimli in Lord Of The Rings, exclaimed “Oh woman!’ at former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and slapped his palms on the table in the discussion last year.

“I thought at the time, I should shut him down, and say, ‘That is not how we say things here,'” Bruce said.

“We film the show as live and I always watch it back – which I don’t do with the news any more – to see if there is anything I should have done differently, and on that occasion I should have done.”

While the BBC One show’s ratings went up when Bruce took over from David Dimbleby, she said “they’ve gone down recently because I think people are fed up of coronavirus”.

Asked if she prefers it when guests are passionate on the programme, she said: “Passionate, yes. Kicking off, not so much.

Bruce spoke to Radio Times magazine (Radio Times)

“I don’t like it when passion edges into nastiness and there was a lot of nastiness around Brexit in particular, a lot of division and fear.”

She said of Question Time: “At the beginning of lockdown, people just wanted information, so there wasn’t much debate. But as time moved on, that changed.”

Bruce said she has no further TV ambitions at the moment and added: “I’m 56 and I didn’t expect to be working at this age. Things have improved in that sense.”

The full interview is in Radio Times magazine, out now. 

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