entertainment

A Q&A with Jamila Rizvi: 'Why I am going on The Verdict with Mark Latham.'

Get ready for fireworks.

Tonight at 8.30pm Channel Nine will air The Verdict. It’s a new political talk show hosted by Today’s Karl Stefanovic that will feature a range of guests debating current affairs. It’s being described as The Project meets Q&A – and it’s fiery.

Mamamia Women’s Network editor-in-chief Jamila Rizvi is a panelist alongside former federal Labor leader Mark Latham, Senator Jacqui Lambie, former footballer Campbell Brown, counter-terrorism expert Dr Anne Aly, Sydney institute deputy director Anne Henderson and criminal psychologist Sandy Rea.

They filmed the first episode today and it was as heated as you’d expect.

jamila rizvi on the verdict
Some of the panel: Anne Henderson, Mark Latham, Sandy Rea. Image: Supplied.

I asked Jamila a few questions about the first filming and why she decided to do the show.

First, things first. How did you feel about appearing on a television show with Mark Latham?

“I really went back and forward a few times about going on a show with Mark Latham. The reason I did is because I have previously criticised the AFR and other media outlets that have given him a platform to air views that cross the line from being a positive contribution to public debate to being downright offensive.

But, he’s being given a voice and a media platform and whether I like it or not, I want strong woman out there arguing against his views.

I realised that taking a private stand in my own living room wouldn’t achieve anything. I decided by going on and getting in the arena, taking the argument up to him and pointing out where I think his views are inappropriate (to the point of cruelty), was worth doing.”

jamila rizvi on the verdict
Jamila with Karl Stefanovic and Sandy Rea. Image: Supplied.
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What were you drawn to about The Verdict?

“When I heard Channel 9 were running a political panel show I was excited. There is room for more regular political debate in this country that is easily accessible to the public.

It’s wrong to assume people aren’t interested in politics or current affairs: they are. Channel 9’s new contribution to the TV debate landscape is innovative and I think people are really going to like it.

The ABC and SBS dominate that space but it’s great for commercial tv to step up and facilitate this discussion as well.”

jamila rizvi on the verdict
A very important looking sign. Image: Supplied.

How do you prepare?

“I am always a bit nervous before going on a panel show where you have different people with competing views. You can’t control the situation. You can’t predict the other panelists’ opinions or behaviour.

And there are silly nerves too about the things that shouldn’t matter, but do.

I should just worry about being concise and eloquent and informed but I also worry about stuff like my hair, what I’m wearing, whether there are any stains from breastmilk on my dress…

I find the best way to prepare is to read as widely as possible. I don’t write notes or lines beforehand because for me a scripted approach doesn’t work. I read as much as possible. My opinion is generally shaped by learning as much as I can about a topic.”

jamila rizvi on the verdict
Jamila with senator Jacqui Lambie. Image: Supplied.

What can viewers expect from Episode 1?

“I am really interested to see how it looks on TV. It felt really good. The energy was so high – everyone wanted to have their say. It felt like we could have done this 10 times over and still have had more to say.

We talked about terrorism, the Parramatta shooting, Donald Trump and what’s making him popular, Peter Dutton’s decision about Chris Brown and Troy Newman, whether sportspeople should be banned for committing crimes and whether doctors over-prescribe medication for mental illness.

It’s so interesting when you’re on a panel tv show – you’re not acting. You say the things you genuinely believe but you’re also on tv so there is an element of performance. I have extremely strong differences of opinion with people I have appeared on tv with previously and while the debate is often fiery on-air, off-air it’s often cordial and chatty. It wasn’t like that with Mark Latham. He remained surly and angry during the ad breaks.”

The Verdict premieres tonight at 8.30pm on Channel Nine.

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