The National:

BEING based north of the Border, comically poor Question Time panels are something we've become accustomed to.

Even by their low, low standards however, tonight's line-up is something quite spectacular. Some – including National columnist Andrew Tickell – said it was outright trolling.

In fact, in combination with the graphics advertising the guests taking a new format, it had many asking whether they had been fooled by a parody account.

So, here's who we have appearing live from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, tonight:

And let's go through them.

The biggest portrait of the lot belongs to Rod Liddle of The Sun. We'll just quote the headline of one of his latest pieces for The Spectator: "Is it possible to draw Serena Williams without being racist?"

The National: Jacob Rees-Mogg

Accompanying him is Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (are you seeing a theme here?). He'll be bringing his Victorian-era views to "the BBC's flagship political debate programme".

Think that's hard to top? They've managed it. Also appearing from County Durham is Labour's Ian Lavery MP. Having Labour's chairman on Labour conference week makes some sense ... but that's not why he's been in the headlines.

Lavery has been in the headlines because, speaking at the Scots night at Labour conference in Liverpool on Monday, he told delegates: “We need to kill off the nationalists in Scotland and regain that great country.”

Incredibly, they have decided to put someone Scottish on the panel – Ayesha Hazarika, a comedian and former adviser to Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband.

Will this provide some balance? Well, here's what she said in a BBC feature last year: "The SNP is obsessed with the independence question and they always will be obsessed." Judge for yourself.

And the final panellist is Polly Mackenzie, chief executive of the Demos think tank and adviser to Nick Clegg when he was deputy PM. She also helped to establish the Women's Equality Party.

On October 11 Question Time comes to Edinburgh. There, we'll get a panel directly relevant to Scotland, and maybe even a few who support independence.

The fact this is never the case when the show is broadcast from England – which is the case the vast, vast majority of times – speaks volumes.

And while many of us will have tuned out of this show now, as a "flagship" BBC programme, it deserves scrutiny.