Organisers of the Devizes Arts Festival have landed a scoop - the BBC’s legendary Any Questions?

And now the big question is, who will be on the panel?

Festival chiefs say the BBC is keeping the identity of the four panellists under wraps and their names will not be revealed until about a week before the live broadcast on Friday December 10.

But already a guessing game has started locally, with residents speculating on who among the town’s great and the good will face a grilling from the audience and the programme’s chairman, Chris Mason.

The last time that the Radio 4 flagship programme came to Devizes, in June 2010, Jonathan Dimbleby was in the chair and the panellists were musician Billy Bragg, the editor of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson, the then immigration Minister Damian Green and Labour MP Kate Hoey.

The favourite tip to be on the panel is the town’s MP, Danny Kruger.

But tipsters are also wondering whether the BBC will add a family affair touch to the line-up, by also inviting his mum, the famed chef and Great British Bake Off host Prue Leith.

Others among the running include Toby Bartholomew, the great-great-grandson of the Wadworth founder, who took over as managing director of the brewery a year ago; Devizes Mayor, Cllr Chris Gay and Iain Wallis, the up-and-coming “voice of Devizes” who serves on Devizes Town Council and Wiltshire Council.

Wiltshire-born singer-songwriter James Blunt is thought to be another possible along with Rev Jonathan Poston, soon to be inducted as the new Rector of St. John’s and St. Mary’s.

The festival held its annual meeting recently and organisers say it was “an intimate affair”.

“A small turnout was no surprise as the usual summer fortnight of arts events has been called off two years running because of the pandemic,” said a spokeswoman.

“However, the DAF committee has been busy behind the scenes, meeting and zooming throughout the lockdown to arrange a mini-festival for 10 days in November.”

Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, will be performing at the Corn Exchange from 7.30 p.m. on 11 November.

As part of a 60th anniversary tour, the band will be telling the story of the famous London club with archive video footage and some memorable live jazz.

Sally Baker, Sir Tom Jones’ chosen finalist from The Voice 2014 and who then went on to tour with him, Bob Dylan and Robert Plant, will be appearing at the Assembly Room in Devizes Town Hall, on November 13th, sharing her own songs and those of Joni Mitchell and Sandy Denny.

“The mini-festival is set to end with a bang on Friday 19 November,” said the spokeswoman, “when we’ll be dancing to classic soul sounds from the band and singers of Motown Gold. The show starts at 8pm in the Corn Exchange."

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