JCB was put in the national spotlight last night when the company played host to BBC One’s Question Time.

Programme host David Dimbleby fielded questions from guests including former Labour Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis, Chief Executive of Siemens UK Juergen Maier, Sunday Express Political Editor Camilla Tominey and Ash Sarkar, of Novara Media during filming in the Innovation Centre at JCB’s World HQ at Rocester.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “It was a pleasure to host David Dimbleby and BBC One’s Question Time at JCB. The JCB’s Innovation Centre is where the ideas for our products are brought to life and the industrial setting provided an ideal backdrop for the programme.”

Among those in the audience was JCB Application Engineer Mark Richards, 25, of Derby. He said: “It was a once in a lifetime experience to be involved and it was great to be so close to the programme and see how it is actually made. It was also a very interesting experience to be involved in a live debate, hear different views and get some answers from politicians.”

Global Major Accounts Executive Olivia Grey, 25, of Barton under Needwood, said: “It was a very enjoyable evening and I was really pleased I applied to be in the audience and was able to watch the debate in person.”

Question Time has been an enduring part of the British television landscape for nearly 40 years during which time JCB has gone from producing almost 7,000 machines a year to more than 70,000 annually, making the company one of Britain’s biggest exporters and manufacturers. Question Time was first broadcast in 1979 and David Dimbleby has presented it since 1994.  

JCB apprentices Louise Meredith, of Stoke-on-Trent, Mo Khan, of Uttoxeter, Ben Rowson-Jones, of Derby and Jade Holmes, of Hilton, Derby were given a tour of the Question Time set before filming at JCB yesterday.