Question Time

Question Time has been an enduring institution at the BBC since it began on 25th September 1979, as a spin off of the radio programme Any Questions (itself an enduring institution since 12th October 1948).  David Dimbleby hosts his final edition of the show this coming Thursday, 13th December, while this week it was announced that Fiona Bruce will take over the mantle of Chairperson.

Natal Chart

The main focus of the chart of Question Time are the signs Virgo, Libra and Scorpio.  The North Node and Saturn are in Virgo. The Sun, Venus, Mercury and Pluto are in trying-to-be-fair-and-balanced Libra, with Mercury conjunct Venus providing a platform for discussion.  The Moon and Uranus are in Scorpio.

The chart of Any Questions also fell into a similar area of the zodiac, with Venus and Saturn  in Virgo, Sun and Neptune in Libra, and Mercury, Mars and Chiron in Scorpio.  The Moon is in Scorpio, providing a spirit of enquiry, and the North Node is in Virgo.

Robin Day

The first host for Question Time was the flamboyant Robin Day, he of the polka dot bow ties and sharp wit.  His Sun was at the very beginning of the incisive sign of Scorpio, again falling into this sector of the zodiac.  This was a defining opportunity for him, the Question Time Jupiter was sextile his Sun, and he managed ten years as Chair.

Robin Day had the Sun, Venus and Jupiter in Scorpio; Mars, Mercury and Saturn in Libra.  Known for his cutting wit (“The Grand Inquisitor”), he had a T-square formed by Mercury square Pluto and Mercury opposite Chiron.  The flamboyant side of his nature is shown by the Full Moon at his birth, and Venus trine Uranus.  He also had an enquiring spirit searching for the truth: Jupiter square Neptune.

As a student at Oxford University, he became president of the debating society.  Dick Taverne described him as: “The most outstanding television journalist of his generation. He transformed the television interview, changed the relationship between politicians and television, and strove to assert balance and rationality into the medium’s treatment of current affairs”

His last programme was aired on 12th July 1989, with Pluto on his Venus (a goodbye) and Pluto trine his Pluto (self-empowerment).

Peter Sissons

Peter Sissons was the next broadcaster to pick up the baton, between 1989 and 1993.  From a fixed venue in London, the programme began to tour the country, a feature it retains to this day.  Peter hails from a different segment of the zodiac, with the Sun in Cancer.

Peter has Mercury conjunct Jupiter in Cancer, indicating an enquiring mind with a broad range of interests.  His North Node is in Virgo, in karmic harmony with the Question Time North Node in Virgo, and he also has Moon in Virgo.  His Mercury/Jupiter conjunction sextiles the Question Time North Node, providing extra karmic connection.  In his chart comparison with Robin Day, his Jupiter sextiles exactly Robin Day’s North Node, showing the karmic opportunity provided by Robin Day.

An interesting feature of his background was that he attended junior school in Liverpool with John Lennon and Jimmy Tarbuck, then attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys with George Harrison and Paul McCartney.

When he left Question Time, Jupiter was trine his natal Jupiter/Mercury and sextile his natal North Node, so he may have seen it as a liberation.  He continued to work at the BBC Nine O’Clock News and the Ten O’Clock News, but in January 2003 he was dropped from his post.  He claimed that the changes were due to the ageism within the broadcasting company policies at the time, and the astrology certainly shows that theme, with Saturn (Ageism) transiting his natal Venus in Gemini.

In his 2011 autobiography “When One Door Closes”, he criticized the BBC for being, as he saw it, too left wing.  This is interesting, since these days the opposite is suspected.  The whole concept of Question Time, of course, demands a fair and balanced debate.

David Dimbleby

David Dimbleby has sat in the Question Time chair for a quarter of a century!  He comes from the Dimbleby broadcasting dynasty (Gemini Richard, his father, and leo Jonathan, his brother).  Like Robin Day, the original chairperson, he has Sun in Scorpio which is actually conjunct Robin’s Sun.  But David Dimbleby has Scorpio magnified, because his Pluto is exactly square to his natal Sun.  And he owns his Sun sign, having had a Scorpion tattoo inscribed on his shoulder.  Mercury and the North Node are also in Scorpio in his birth chart.  With Mercury opposite Uranus, he is not afraid to be controversial.  And like Robin Day, he also has Mars in Libra.  mars sextile exactly Pluto gives him the ability to handle hostile forces (e.g. in the audience!).  And also in common with Robin Day, he also has Uranus close to his South Node.

His synastry with the Question Time chart in sustaining that role includes his Pluto (ruling planet) sextile the Question Time Sun (durability), his Pluto conjunct the Question Time Mars (endless energy) and his Mars sextile its Mars (drive).

While at Oxford University, David Dimbleby was a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club (as were David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson).

In his long tenure, he missed a programme on 12th November 2009, when John Humphries stood in for him.  He had been knocked out by a rearing bullock at his farm.  Most notably, Pluto was squaring his natal Mars at the time, which depicts a personal danger.

At the announcement of his leaving, Uranus was opposite his natal Sun (breaking away) and squaring his Pluto (also breaking away).  Increasingly, the last two years, the predominant proportion of time has been given to questions about Brexit, which has been very tedious and repetitive, and the questions and answers seem to go round in a circle.  No wonder Dimbleby is retiring!  His last programme will be this Thursday 13th December 2018, where his farewell transits will be Mars trine his North Node in Scorpio, and Saturn opposite his Chiron.

David Dimbleby is of course himself an institution on the BBC, and has hosted many a General Election through the night.  So he will probably keep his hand in, in the coming years.

Fiona Bruce

Fiona Bruce has been chosen as Dimbleby’s successor.  Apparently, she performed well in front of trial runs with audiences, impressing “with her authority, warmth, and ability to connect with the audience and champion their concerns.”

Fiona is a Sun in Taurus.  Interestingly, Jeremy Paxman was considered for the role at the time David Dimbleby was chosen.  Jeremy has been nicknamed as “the Rottweiler”, but seems to have softened in recent years.  Jeremy Paxman is a Taurean, like Fiona.  This sign gives her qualities of doggedness and stamina when dealing with the challenges of the role.

Like Peter Sissons, she has Mercury conjunct Jupiter (endless curiosity), and hers is part of a triple conjunction with the Sun.  With 5 planets in Earth signs, she would be very grounded, but Sun trine exactly Uranus would make her a quick thinker, and also prevent her from being too stuck in the mud.  Her chart does have more similarity with Peter Sissons’ generally, with the Sun sextile exactly a North Node in Cancer (her role in the Antiques Road Show).  Jupiter sextile exactly Saturn may give her a balanced judgement.  She has the mid-1960s high energy conjunction of Uranus/Pluto in Virgo (she once sang in punk bands).  Uranus sextile exactly the North Node gives her leadership, and good group consciousness.  Neptune trine exactly her Chiron brings healing qualities.

In her relationship with the Question Time chart, its Saturn squares her Venus, so she may feel tied down.  Its Neptune also squares her Chiron, so may be draining to her healing energies.  The role could take its toll – though she has said she will continue her other programmes, but she may have to re-think.  Her Pluto is exactly sextile that of Robin Day, symbolic of carrying on a tradition over the generations.  At the announcement of the take over, Saturn was trine her Mercury (a mental commitment).  Her first programme will be on Thursday 10th January, when Saturn will be trine her Pluto, marking a long term project.  But Pluto will be square her Mars, which will not be easy.  David Dimbleby’s length of service in the role will be hard to beat!


Aspects this week are extremely thin on the ground, as to be almost non-existent.  Two planets change direction, mercifully forwards (but these events are not aspects).  There is only one aspect as such, and that occurs today.  So make it last!

Chiron is stationary, prior to turning direct today.  This is a helpful step on  your healing pathway, a boost to your healing energies, and will assist you in finding new healing avenues.

On the day that Chiron went direct last December, I noted: “Interesting that yesterday when Chiron (the Healer) went Direct, a new treatment for diabetes was announced: a liquid diet of 800 calories a day, which applied for several weeks enabled enough weight loss to remove fat from around the pancreas, and bring about remission.”  There have been further developments to this story during the course of the last year.  The government has even announced in the last month that very low calorie diets are to be introduced to tackle type 2 diabetes.

Also today, as if to emphasize this healing trend, Mercury trines Chiron, which provides more of the same.  Because we experienced this recently (on 4th) when Mercury was retrograde, now that Mercury is retracing its steps, we might find healing themes recurring.  As mentioned last week, Mercury trine Chiron describes healing on a mental level (positive thinking, writing and affirmations), and helps to combine conventional and alternative or complementary healing approaches.  If you noticed such a theme last week, the flow may continue this week.

On Wednesday (12th), Mercury re-enters Sagittarius, from its retrograde period retracing its path in Scorpio.  It went into Sagittarius at the end of October, before dipping back to Scorpio.  Mercury in Sagittarius is fun loving, so buy some joke books as stocking fillers for those you love, young and old!  Mental expansion and curiosity are also prevalent with this placement, so books fostering keen interests will be welcome this Christmas and into the New Year while Mercury is in Sagittarius.  “Knock, knock, who’s there?” and “Did you know…?” are phrases that may be ringing in your ears.

All these influences will be hanging around for most of the week if  you need them.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – healing progress and mental avenues of healing
  • Wednesday – fun loving, and a thirst for knowledge