A bit of an anticlimax and a bit dreary. I hope they spice the remaining shows up a little: perhaps let the audience cheer and boo and possibly even throw things.
Alistair Stewart tried to emulate a pre-emptive multitasking protocol and ended up stopping the natural flow of the debate somewhat. This riled Brown at various points whose preferred debating tactics include interruption, continuing after the allotted time and head-shaking.
Cleggy came across as the most natural, spoke into the camera and cleverly listed all the audience member’s names in his closing speech. A media masterclass although one criticism was that the “try us, not the old lot” wore thin towards the end. Also, I wondered whether Cleggy had recently bought some shares in a northern steel making company as he kept mentioning Sheffield every time he spoke.
Cameron came across quite statesmanlike, like a premier-in-waiting. No PMQs style anger at Brown which was a pity. I noticed his body language was effectively closing Brown off whenever he spoke. I wonder whether he was briefed not to get angry this time, although it would be great if the final session at the BBC, the subject header being “The Economy”, Cameron will get the green light and let rip into Brown. Now that would be some great entertainment.
Brown. Good grief. He just can’t get enough tractor stats and anti-Tory rhetoric in fast enough. His body language is awful: the glaring at Cameron, the shaking of his head, the constant interruption of Cameron whenever he spoke, his pre-briefed clichéd jokes about Ashcroft, his “I agree with Cleggy” nonsense, the whole Brown package is a liability and Campbell and The Prince of Darkness must be scratching their scales wondering what they can do with this car wreck of a persona.
Overall Cleggy had the most to gain and the boy done good, as predicted by Guido.
Cameron had the most to lose and managed to play safe. Too safe if I had to be honest. Initially he looked a little "rabbit in headlights" but made up for it by the better closing speech. Safe and statesmanlike.
Brown lost that one with a quite dismal, cringe worthy performance. He has a face for radio and a personality for hiding behind a deskful of Nokias. I’m afraid it’s no use the spin doctors saying Brown is serious about issues and prefers to get on with the job: this is the brave new media world where we expect our leaders to be media savvy and friendly and not look like autistic accountants with a severe case of haemorrhoids. It ain’t the 1940’s anymore. This is where the ovine populace will place a cross on the leader that looks and sounds the most like Simon Cowell.