The first ever UK genuine general election television debate took place only last time round. 2010 saw a trio of debates with the then three main party leaders sharing a stage.
It’s very different for 2015. In the run up to 7 May there is just one single such event. With a staggering seven podiums to be set up.
Before this piece of panto, the two people that can conceivably become prime minister undertake separate yet successive grillings on Channel4/Skynews live.
The Opposition leader won the coin toss for turns.
He chose to go last.
Commenting on this was American tv debate analyst, Todd Graham, from a midwest town called Carbondale.
With no head-to-head, Mr Graham explained why the challenger had chosen wisely.
Debates, he explained, need two things; good prep on good answers, and good strategy.
“Speaking last is great strategy”.
You get to use the previous pitcher’s answers against them.
And to react accordingly.
The link with when is it best to make your final, shortlisted, Board presentation is obvious.
I often test the mettle of sellers by asking when they’d present in this scenario.
The first revealing answer is “at a time of my choosing”.
When you want to, as opposed to being told when, shows you’re in the driving seat. Anything else rings clattering alarm bells.
As for the selection itself, I always say take the last.
And the above reason given by the talking head readily applies.
You should glean what was missing. Where gaps in any alternative must trap them. What needs to be done to confirm glory.
In the field, I’ve done plenty of these and there’s sometimes not much time between slots.
The nightmare is that they run consecutively. But you’d know this up-front, so must plan accordingly. Know how to get at least some pointers passed your way as your prepare the floor.
In any case, the rule remains. Take the last time.