Questionable Time #68

questionable time 68 david dimbleby monkey

Good morning Lemmings and just why exactly are you all wearing your ties around your heads, setting off fire extinguishers, smoking conspicuously and generally running wild in the corridors? Ah, I see… It’s the end of term – that last hurrah before QT goes into it’s reverso-hibernation – and consequently I see little point in trying to hold your attention for more than 10 minutes. With this in mind (and seeing as you’ve been so good all year), let’s dispense with all the earnest chin-stroking, let our hair down and play a little game called ‘Which One of Last Night’s Panelists Would I Most Like to Be My GP?’. Yeah yeah yeah, so you all wanted to play Mouse Trap but you can’t because a) we’ve lost half the pieces, b) Mr Gove won’t let us buy any new ones and c) the idea of Mouse Trap is always much more fun than the stuttering and largely inoperative reality of Mouse Trap. GP’s it is then.


Let’s start with obvious choice…

It’s a no-brainer really: You’re ill, you’re in the QT studio, who do you turn to? Well quite clearly it would be Dr Sarah Woolaston, the only actual medic on the panel and one who exudes a general air of competence. So anyway, you get to the back of the set, Doctor Woolaston performs a thorough examination and declares that it’s nothing to worry about and that everything will be fine. Except that you’re not feeling fine. Something is troubling you and you can’t quite put your finger on it.


Are you sure Doc? Are you sure that I’m not going to keel over and die?”


Yes” she replies soothingly “You’ve just watched too much QT this year and there’s been a build up of current affairs pathogens that your body is now dealing with. Give it a day and you’ll be as right as rain”.


Yet I’m still feeling uneasy. Why? Because her face is telling a different story to the words coming out of her mouth. We saw it last night, like when she was extolling the virtues of open primaries. According to the words she was saying, these are great things that are a cause for joy yet her face was set in this near-frown/semi-smile of ambient concern that told a completely different story. In fact it didn’t matter what the subject was, that face just wouldn’t shift from its default position of nebulous worry and that lent an otherwise pretty solid performance an air of uncertainty that didn’t sit well with me.


So despite her immaculate credentials and refreshingly calm manner I’m going to pass on the offer of medical aid from Sarah. It’s not that I doubt her skills, it’s just that no matter how many times my ears hear the words ‘You’re going to be fine’, my eyes end up concluding that I’ll be dead by sundown. Next!


What about the highest ranking panelist, Danny Alexander?

Let’s start with the good news: Danny Alexander no longer looks like a harried junior doctor who doesn’t know his fib from his tib and has settled quite comfortably into the role of Ward Manager that was thrust so violently upon him. And the bad news? His bedside manner is pretty ropey – just really flat and distracted by mental visions of a million graphs plunging downwards – not to mention that he has a really obvious tell: He starts talking really quickly when delivering bad news (like when Hodge was roughing him up on the state of the NHS). So beware: If Dr Danny mumbles a diagnosis at you, you’re probably in the clear. However, if he says something like ‘Everythingsabsolutelyfineyouhavenothingtoworryabout’ I’d get ringing 999.


(On a tenuously related note, I’ve noticed that Alexander gets a raw deal on google images and that every other photo appears to be a comparison between himself and Beaker. Consequently I have taken steps to reverse this trend. See Fig. 1).


danny alexander fit

Fig. 1

Talking of bedside manner…

This is the bit that Margaret Hodge has got nailed. No five-minute appointments, no being fobbed off with 20mg of Citalopram and a ‘there there dear’, you’re in for a proper 20 minute consultation in which tears will flow and Kleenex will be offered. The problem however is that I’m not entirely convinced about how up to date her clinical skills are and there’s always the chance of a misdiagnosis like when she chalked up an immigration problem to a lack of ID cards. Still, she’s probably the sort of doctor who’d turn up to a patients funeral and that get points in my book… Even if she was an indirect cause of death.


Douglas Murray is fond of rather drastic interventions…

So here I am backstage again and Dr Murray has taken the time to stop by.


What’s the problem then?” he states.


It’s my hand,” says you “it’s a bit stiff”.


Right, get my saw. That needs amputating.”


Actually, I’m being a little unfair here because like Danny Alexander, Douglas Murray has changed dramatically over the last couple of years and is much more mellow than he was when he was screaming for this or that to be bombed off the face of the earth. That’s not to say that he’s completely lost his taste for the extreme (performance related pay for MP’s anyone?) but I have to admit that he was actually pretty good last night and never once in danger of doing a Full Blown Mel. I’d still keep my eye on that saw though…


I’m troubled by Dr Robinson’s intentions…

He’s a kindly soul is Dr Robinson and much like Hodge, I can’t fault him when it comes to the basics of the doctor/patient dynamic. However, I am concerned that a) his prescribed treatments would most likely involve leeches or trepanning and b) he’d actual quite like for me to cark it so he could bury me behind the surgery and then dig me up again in front of a film crew. Speaking of which, I really should ring the doctors to get my paranoia looked at.




Woolaston: 6/10

(Has a worried looking) Face


Alexander: 5/10

(Has finally learned to) Embrace (his role)


Hodge: 6/10

(Is) Ace (when she’s hounding tax dodgers)


Murray: 6/10

(Is not the head) Case (he used to be)


Robinson: 6/10

(Is always welcome round my) Place (providing he doesn’t dig it up).


The Crowd: 5/10

(All wore undergarments of) Lace?


And that’s that for another two months. As is customary at the end of the QT year I’d like to say a big thanks to all those who’ve helped out in one way or another (you know who you are) and also to you guys for reading. God willing, Questionable Time will be back in September but should you find yourself at a loose end before then please go and check out my new site – It’s pretty simple really: I mishear lyrics and then I illustrate them. Anyway, it’s very silly in a fun sort of way so check it out and pass it on to anyone you think might get a kick out of it.


Right, that’s your lot. Have a great summer and I’ll see you back here in September…


In a couple months Lemmings, in a couple of months…


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July 2013

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