BBC’s Question Time was arguably more confrontational than ever this week against a backdrop of Jeremy Corbyn’s triumphant Labour Party conference, ongoing Brexit tension and the rise of the far-right in Germany.
The first exchange was over Corbyn’s Labour Party being poised to sweep to power, with one Wolverhampton audience member warning its move to the left would “take us back into the early 1900s” and, in turn, another talking of the “pride” that had returned to the party.
It was too much for many even at that stage.
But things got even more heated.
On the panel was Ayesha Hazarika, a former Labour Party adviser, columnist and stand-up comedian, who essayed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that took 13 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s elections in Germany.
She described them as “essentially a racist, Nazi party” when she began to be heckled by a man in the audience.
“They are,” she responded, adding the party “made a big step forward, a big goose-step forward at this election”.
“They said that actually World War Two was fine and the German army did a really good job,” Hazarika continued through the jibes of “prove it” and “you’re a liar”.
“I’m sorry, they are a racist party. But the point is, Angela Merkel is a pragmatic politician and I think she’s a politician with humanity.”
At this point, the man in the audience contended Merkel is “a communist, an Eastern European communist”, and suggested she has “got the uniform”. To be clear, the East German-born Chancellor leads the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
“She’s actually not a communist. I’ll tell you something, she has got values and she’s got pragmatism,” came Hazarika’s calm riposte.
When the audience member signalled he thought Hazarika was an “idiot”, he became too much to indulge any longer.
“Actually, you are a bully because you won’t let anyone else talk, all right,” said the panelist, prompting a huge wave of applause. “Are you just going to keep shouting at me? You let me speak, I’ll let you speak.”
Hazarika continued her point, and launched into a withering attack on world leaders:
“In a world full of demented men like Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin - these crazy man-babies - I’m very glad that Angela Merkel is there. In terms of global leadership, she is a moral authority in a very scary world right now.”
The exchange drew criticism from Labour MPs angered by David Dimbleby’s non-intervention.
Others were of a similar mind, praising Hazarika and damning the show.
She later tweeted her first appearance on the show was “quite the experience”.