Burnley’s Clarke Carlisle will be the first professional footballer to appear as a panellist on Question Time when the political show is broadcast tonight.
The 31-year-old defender is the chairman of the Professional Footballers Association and regarded as one of the game’s most intelligent players.
He has ten A-grade GCSEs and A-Levels in maths and politics and appeared on Channel 4 show Countdown, winning two games.
Carlisle will appear on tonight’s show – hosted by veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby – alongside MPs Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Deputy Liberal Democrat Leader Simon Hughes.
Also appearing on the show is former MP George Galloway and Tony Blair’s old spin doctor Alastair Campbell – a staunch Burnley fan.
Galloway and Campbell will undoubtedly go at each other’s jugulars – with the former MP a huge critic of the Iraq War, a conflict Campbell was an influential supporter of.
But the focus will be on the appearance of Carlisle.
The centre-half said: “I don’t consider myself to be a politics buff by any stretch of the imagination, but with the economic crisis, having a young family and the recent election, my wife and I started to take a keener interest and I just hope I can give a layman’s perspective on things.”
Carlisle’s appearance will go along way to dispel the myth that all professional footballers are uneducated womanisers.
Programme editor Ed Havard added: “Who knows, his performance on Thursday may also encourage other footballers to take on the Question Time challenge. Not Wayne Rooney perhaps, but we’ve heard Frank Lampard is an avid viewer.”
Question Time airs live on BBC1 tonight at 22.35