PRESENTER Stephen Nolan has rejected claims that a “loyalist mob” was allowed to control this week’s episode of his BBC television show.
During the latest Nolan Show, broadcast on Wednesday evening, the vast majority of the studio audience appeared to be from the Protestant community.
Several members of the audience repeatedly barracked panel members Gerry Kelly (Sinn Fein), Conall McDevitt (SDLP) and Justice Minister David Ford.
Social media websites were flooded with angry messages from nationalists who claimed the show lacked balance.
Speaking on his radio show yesterday morning, Nolan said loyalist protests, including one outside the studio on Wednesday, prevented the usual cross-section of the community from seeking tickets.
“I wish the audience had been a better mix last night,” he said.
“We are hearing that people are not coming into Belfast city centre from all walks of the community as they normally do.”
Nolan said it “wasn’t the easiest of shows to present” but added: “I don’t think I lost control.”
“Actually, we did our very, very best as a genuine team to try to make it as balanced as possible.”
The Nolan TV show is usually broadcast live – but on Wednesday night, it was pre-recorded and then broadcast in the usual slot of 10.35pm
A BBC spokeswoman yesterday said: “We made an editorial decision to pre-record as live the Nolan Show based on the particular circumstances of last night.
“We were able to include live audience reaction to the programme through text and email messages.”