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'Good to see real bruvvas like Dr Benji on Question Time'

REAL BRUVVA: Benjamin Zephaniah (PA)

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH'S recent appearance on BBC Question Time was long overdue.

Good to see that the decision makers at that programme are inviting some real bruvvas to dine at the QT table.

Usually we’re just the waiters, security guards and taxi chauffeurs.

They’re refusing to say whether Benji would be back any time soon. They might as well say, “We ask the questions....”

Benji has come a long way since I first interviewed him over 30 years ago. Then he was squatting in a house in east London, just a stone’s throw away from the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Those were hard times for him (and for me too).

There were no carpets on the floorboards and hardly any furniture in his yard. And, although things have changed on the financial front, Benji on Question Time was no different essentially from the Benji that I met back then. He is essentially a great humanist, with a little bit of humorist and a whole dollop of lyricist.

Dr Benji, as we should more properly call him, is now regarded by no less an authority than The Times newspaper to be the 48th most important postwar writer in Britain.

Pity he turned down the OBE he was offered 10 years ago. Otherwise, I would be calling for him to get a knighthood. He certainly deserves one.

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