HELLO, good evening and welcome to the national manspreading championships. Perched on our white leather bar stools tonight, presenting their groins and policies to voteless viewers, are Michael “Joe 90” Gove, Sajid “Dead Man Walking” Javid, Jeremy “Careful with that Surname” Hunt, coming man Rory Stewart, aka Wallace without his Gromit, and somebody called Boris Johnson.

Not THE Boris Johnson, blonder than Harlow, more reclusive than Garbo, the dude the media cannot tame? The very same. Having given the Channel 4 debate a body swerve because it would have been unseemly to scrap with five rivals, Boris turned up to fight with four.

Then again, this was the BBC, it was bound to be a classy affair. She may be ripping free telly licences out of pensioners’ cold hands, but Auntie can still put on a show. If all else failed to generate excitement, host Emily Maitlis would execute one of her famous eye rolls.

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The best question of the day had been asked that morning by 5 Live’s Emma Barnett of Johnson ally Johnny Mercer, to wit: how many children does the would-be PM have? Was anyone going to ask that? Of course not. Parents would have been up all night explaining Boris’s complicated private life, and no-one has that many Sharpies in the house.

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Little tables to their sides making them look like a row of very bad Dave Allen imitators, the contenders said their pieces. Unofficially, the name of the game was Get Rory. He, in turn, was out to block Boris.

Boris sat there like a postprandial albino panda, content to leave them to it. Jeremy Hunt was so subdued it looked like someone had swapped his water for embalming fluid, while the faint hissing sound in the background was the air slowly leaking out of Javid’s bid to be leader.

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Rory, feet planted firmly on the floor, grew increasingly excited. Fifteen minutes in, he slipped off his tie, very 007, while Michael Gove ripped away his mask to reveal a giant lizard head. Or that may have been where my mind wandered while the band of bad blood brothers shouted among themselves. If there was a winner last night it was the Edinburgh-born Gove, who pointedly refused at the end to shake Johnson’s hand. Anyone would think they loathed each other.

Questions came in from across the UK. Finally, we heard from Scotland. Erin, 15, in Glasgow, wanted to know what the candidates would do to tackle climate change. Certainly not reduce hot air, that was for sure. Erin professed herself unimpressed. Join the queue, lady.

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The hour over, viewers who stayed with BBC1 were treated to the finale of Years and Years, the tale of a dangerously narcissistic populist taking control of a country in crisis only to lead it to further doom. Like that could ever happen. Goodnight, and may your God go with you.