John Lydon to appear on Question Time

Singer will join panel that includes Louise Mensch and Alan Johnson on 5 July. Let's hope he doesn't 'do an Alex James'

John Lydon will appear on BBC1 current affairs show Question Time on 5 July. The outspoken punk veteran will join a panel that includes Conservative MP Louise Mensch, energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey, and former home secretary Alan Johnson to discuss the week's events. Given that Mensch is married to Metallica manager Peter Mensch and that Johnson played in various bands before entering politics, this could be the most rocking Question Time ever.

Lydon follows in the footsteps of musicians including Jarvis Cocker, Alex James and Will Young, who have also debated with public figures on the programme. The discussion will be filmed in Derby, to air at 10:35pm.

More than 30 years after the Sex Pistols' bad behaviour ruined the career of TV presenter Bill Grundy, Lydon remains a provocateur – apparently feuding with Kele Okereke and the Osbournes, and snubbing the Olympics. Promoting his new album with Public Image Ltd, he has complained loudly and often about the state of Britain, describing it as an "enormous bomb … [that's] waiting to go off". During his appearance on the 2004 series of I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, ITV received complaints about Lydon's foul language; he had referred to the show's audience as "fucking cunts".

"No one in British politics impresses me," he told the Guardian in May. "[And] I no longer have that feeling about England that things will be there forever. Like, pubs are great social centres but they've been replaced by wine bars that are cold and expensive … The upwardly mobiles are moving in and bringing in middle-class values, which don't work in a working-class community. I'm sorry, but we swear and smoke tabs. All these alleged roughhouse communities – like Yorkshire and Glasgow – have always been friendly to me. They are my people and they get my humour. All the supposed hellholes. I do well in hell."

Question Time's producers will be hoping Lydon's appearance does not replicate that of Alex James, in which the Blur bassist struggled to muster an opinion. "Look, I'm about cheese and I'm about music," he later told the London Evening Standard. "Did you see me on Question Time? Politics is just not my thing."


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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