Hecklers

Provocative ideas which challenge popular opinion are the focus of this new debates series.

Each week a single advocate of a counter cultural thesis faces a lions den of opposition and a panel of critics.

Evan Davis presents a show in which a provocative thesis is put to an audience to debate.

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Episodes

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0101All Special Terrorism Laws Should Be Abolished20051221

Provocative ideas which challenge popular opinion are the focus of this new debates series.

Each week a single advocate of a counter cultural thesis faces a lions den of opposition and a panel of critics.

Evan Davis presents a show in which a provocative thesis is put to an audience to debate.Conor Gearty argues the case.

0102 LASTThe Welfare State Was A Mistake20051228

James Bartholomew.

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In the first programme of the series Brendan O'leary, a professor of politics and a former constitutional adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government argues that Iraq is still on course for a future as a federal pluralist democracy.

He takes on a panel of journalists and analysts at the international affairs think tank, Chatham House.

BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson is in the chair.

02022006082320060826

Islamic extremism is being fuelled rather than countered by the government's anti-terrorism strategy, argues Gita Saghal - of Women Against Fundamentalisms.

Gita argues that the groups identified by the government as moderate are nothing of the kind.

Challengers include Islamic thinker Tariq Ramadan, former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg and Daud Abdullah, of the Muslim Council of Britain.

0203 LAST2006083020060902

Aid and debt relief are sources of problems rather than salvation for Africa, argues Andrew Mwenda, a Ugandan broadcaster and journalist.

Andrew tries to win over an audience at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

His challengers include representatives of the charities Oxfam and ActionAid, Prof Adrian Wood of Oxford University and the international development minister Gareth Thomas.

BBC Economics Editor Evan Davis is the referee.

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Radical feminist Julie Bindel postulates that sex change operations constitute unnecessary mutilation, before an audience of doctors and transsexual people at the Royal Society of Medicine.

The panel of expert opponents includes gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and two people who feel they were born into the wrong gender.

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From the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham, Mark Oaten MP argues that we should abolish all prisons.

He takes on a panel of four experts and a sceptical audience which includes local magistrates, police officers and victims of crime.

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Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argues that it would be better to have a war with Iran than to allow its government to develop nuclear weapons.

He debates the issues with a panel of hecklers, including George Galloway, in front of an audience at Chatham House in London.

0304 LAST2007082220070825

Tax specialist Richard Murphy argues at the free market Institute of Economic Affairs that Britain should stop trying to woo the foreign super rich with tax breaks.