The Big Questions

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The Big Questions
The Big Questions Title Card.jpg
The Big Questions title sequence
Genre Religion and ethics
Presented by Nicky Campbell
Sonia Deol (co-host, Series 1)
Kaye Adams (cover host, Series 3)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 11
No. of episodes 250
(as of 3 June 2018)
Production company(s) Mentorn Media
Original network BBC One
Original release 9 September 2007 (2007-09-09) – present
Related shows Question Time
External links

The Big Questions is a faith and ethics television programme usually presented by Nicky Campbell. It is broadcast live on BBC One between 10:00am and 11:00am on Sunday, replacing The Heaven and Earth Show as the BBC's religious discussion programme.[1]


The format is loosely based on BBC1's political discussion show, Question Time, though it also contains elements that are more familiar to daytime chat shows. In the first four series, each show featured four panellists from a range of different religious and ethical perspectives, as well as a number of contributors from the live studio audience. In Series 5, the panel was dropped, and the debates took place entirely within the audience, which still featured a number of contributors.

Each week, panel and audience debate three ethical, moral or religious topics which featured in the week's news.

Series Episodes Transmission dates Notes
1 24 9 September 2007 - 6 April 2008
2 41 28 December 2008 - 22 November 2009
3 24 3 January 2010 - 4 July 2010
4 20 9 January 2011 - 19 June 2011
5 20 8 January 2012 - 25 November 2012
6 22 3 January 2013 - 23 June 2013
7 21 5 January 2014 - 15 June 2014
8 20 11 January 2015 - 14 June 2015
9 20 10 January 2016 - 12 June 2016
10 20 8 January 2017 - 11 June 2017
11 20 7 January 2018 - 250 episodes as of 3 June 2018


Panellists have included notable atheist[2][3][4] Richard Dawkins, convert to Roman Catholicism Ann Widdecombe, Imam Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim commentator Mohammed Ansar, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Scottish philosopher John Joseph Haldane, Bible scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Lord Carey, Jonathan Bartley, Peter Hitchens, Alexander Goldberg, Ian McMillan, Andrew Pinsent, Stephen Law, Tommy Robinson, Michael Nazir-Ali, Samuel Westrop and Decca Aitkenhead.

The programme used to have a slot for a celebrity interview in which a famous person talks about their life and their moral, ethical and religious beliefs and interests. Such celebrities have included Richard Dawkins, Annie Lennox, John Barrowman, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Simpson and Jamelia. In the second series this section was dropped, and the whole programme instead concentrates on the three discussions.

The programme is currently in its eleventh series, which began in January 2018 and celebrated its 250th episode 3 June.[5]


Nicky Campbell has presented the show since it began in 2007. Campbell was initially joined by Sonia Deol during the first 14 episodes of series one in February 2008. Deol no longer appeared after this and without explanation.

During series 3 in June 2010, Campbell was absent from the programme. Kaye Adams guest presented the programme on these dates. Campbell then returned from his absence to present the final show in July 2010.

Programme information[edit]

The programme is produced for the BBC by Mentorn Media (owned by Tinopolis).

From July 2010, The Big Questions's breaks and its slot was filled with a new studio-based religious and ethics discussion programme, Sunday Morning Live hosted by Sean Fletcher and Cherry Healey (formerly Susanna Reid, Samira Ahmed, Sian Williams, Naga Munchetty and Emma Barnett). The Big Questions still runs January – July, Sunday Morning Live runs July – November.


  1. ^ "The Big Questions". BBC Online. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Smith, Alexandra (27 November 2006). "Dawkins campaigns to keep God out of classroom". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2007. 
  3. ^ Chittenden, Maurice; Waite, Roger (23 December 2007). "Dawkins to preach atheism to US". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  4. ^ Persuad, Raj (20 March 2003). "Holy visions elude scientists". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  5. ^ "The Big Questions - 03/06/2018". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 

External links[edit]