For the first time in British political election history, the leaders of the three largest parties will face each other in three live, televised debates, to be aired on three different channels on three successive Thursdays, starting tonight.
The real question at stake here is not which political leader comes across as having the best policies – television has never been the medium for in-depth presentation - or the most integrity, or even the best televisual presence – the easy manner, the scripted-but-delivered-as-if-off-the-cuff soundbite.
The real question is, which channel will come across better than its competitors – ITV, Sky, or the BBC?
Given that ITV’s strength has always been fictional drama, and the BBC’s strength has always been to inform, educate and entertain...ITV should be confident that they have a slight edge.
My point is not a cynical view of either the media or politicians. Rather, my concern is that we should be aware of the limits of television as a medium - including the ways in which the medium itself undermines some of the things that programme-makers try to employ it for.